The Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA), the union that represents 1,500 of WestJet’s pilots, has voted overwhelmingly in favour to strike.
Reports suggest that 95% of the pilots voted and 91% of those voted ‘yes’ on the strike vote. If a strike occurs, it could begin as early as May 19th.
Lyell Farquharson, Vice President Sales & Distribution, told Open Jaw that the result of the vote was anticipated.
“It’s no surprise that the Union got the strike vote, it was expected,” said Farquharson. “We still expect to come to an agreement before any action is taken. The earliest any action could take place is 19MAY and we would have notice by 16MAY.”
In response to the strike mandate given by WS pilots, Air Canada has announced added capacity on key transcontinental routes by up-gauging aircraft on flights from its primary global hub in Toronto to Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa and Halifax, from Vancouver to Calgary and Edmonton and from Calgary to Montreal.
An Air Canada press release states: “Travellers who may be concerned about the uncertainty resulting from WestJet's strike vote mandate can book Air Canada with confidence. With our flexible and diverse fleet, we will continue adjusting capacity where possible to limit disruptions for people travelling.”
WS President and CEO Ed Sims issued this statement:
“We respect the outcome of this vote and recognize the mandate WestJet pilots have given ALPA. We are certain our guests will appreciate that this update confirms their travel will be unaffected over the Victoria Day long weekend.”
Sims added: “We remain at the negotiation table to drive a sustainable agreement, in the best interest of our pilots, 13,000 WestJetters and the 70,000 guests who fly with us daily.”
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.