As air travel continues to face challenges around the world, WestJet, in the name of transparency, has posted another operational update.
Released at the midway point of peak summer travel, WestJet’s latest update, issued Friday (Aug. 5), indicates that it “led amongst major Canadian air carriers” in flight completion times from July 1-31.
As per statistics provided by aviation data company Cirium, WestJet completed 97.5 per cent of all scheduled flights last month, with 82 per cent of all scheduled and operated flights arriving within 45 minutes of their scheduled arrival time.
“Our latest performance reflects the responsible and proactive approach our teams took to stabilize our operations in the face of a myriad of hurdles including industry-wide staffing challenges, legacy pandemic health policies, spiking fuel prices, supply-chain issues and inflation,” said Diederik Pen, WestJet’s executive vice-president and chief operating officer.
“Our number one priority is ensuring our guests arrive safely to their destination, as on-time as the current aviation landscape allows for.”
WestJet’s August long-weekend operational performance, from July 29 to Aug, 1, 2022, saw a completion rate of 97.7 per cent (bearing in mind a thunderstorm impacted Calgary operations on July 29).
Additionally, 60.3 per cent flights during that same period arrived within 15 minutes of the schedule time.
In June, WestJet publicly explained how it reduced its schedule to support peak summer travel, which resulted in operating 21 per cent less capacity compared to July 2019.
“This proactive approach has not been without guest impact but has enabled the airline to significantly prevent reactive cancellations across the network which in return has reduced impacts to guests and crew,” the airline stated on Friday.
But despite efforts to relieve airport congestion, the travel environment still “remains challenging,” Pen admitted, apologizing to guests “for any disruption we’ve caused to their long-awaited travel plans.”
“We will continue to be transparent as we strive for improvement, reliability and on-time performance and appreciate their continued patience and understanding,” Pen stated. “My sincere thank you to our guests for their continued patience and understanding and our WestJetters for their dedication as we work together in recovery.”
For the duration of WestJet’s summer operations, weekly operational updates will be posted on this page every Tuesday retroactive for seven days.
Frequently asked questions
WestJet has also posted an FAQ that addresses some of the issues facing travellers today.
For instance: Why are there cancellations related to crew?
“All WestJet flight crew have been recalled and the airline continues to balance stable growth in line with industry. Despite our best efforts at times, flights have been cancelled for crew availability or for crew safety,” the airline wrote on its website.
Cancellations for crew can attributed to a “myriad of reasons” as the Canadian transportation regulations permit crew to work a certain number of hours in a duty-day.
“Compounding delays and disruptions as a result of the current Canadian operating environment can result in duty-day expiration and downline flight cancellations for safety,” WestJet wrote.
What about delayed or missing baggage?
“We are committed to doing everything we can to deliver the WestJet experience our guests expect from us and we are making every effort to connect impacted guests with their missing bags,” the airline wrote.
“We continue to work alongside our third-party service providers to alleviate baggage delays and have invested in additional WestJet oversight to support our partners responsible for actioning and delivering our baggage services in a timely manner.”
More info on WestJet’s policies and compensation for lost bags is available here.