WestJet To Fight NAV Canada Increase Which Is Resulting In Pax Surcharge

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

WestJet President and CEO, Ed Sims.

Canada's aviation industry, being the only one to receive no financial support from the federal government, has been hit with a 29.5% rate increase by NAV Canada. 

WestJet, which will raise its passenger surcharge in response to the increase, says it is investigating an appeal of NAV Canada's rate hike. It says it will remove the additional surcharge if the appeal is successful.

"Countries around the world have taken action to limit or defer costs to the aviation industry, yet our situation remains exacerbated by double-digit increases that are beyond our control," said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO.

"Some airports have indicated they are increasing their Airport Improvement Fees (AIF) by as much as 52% which doesn't help this challenging situation."

NAV Canada, the country's air traffic control operator, is responsible for Canada's civil air navigation system. Its raised rates, which kick in today (01SEP), go from $6 to $9 per guest paid by the airline.

Starting 05SEP, WestJet is increasing the surcharge for air traffic control services between $4 and $7 per guest, depending on flight duration, to partially recover its costs. 

At a time when passenger demand is already in dire straits, Sims says he is concerned the increase will lead to a further reduction in the number of travellers.

"We are sympathetic to their situation, like ours, where a lack of sector-specific federal support has hindered their ability to recover. Burdening travellers who have been severely impacted by this pandemic with incremental costs will only serve to undermine Canada's economic recovery," Sims said. 

Open Jaw reached out to Air Canada about how NAV Canada's rate increase will affect its operations, but did not hear back by press time.

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.

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