WestJet sets the record straight

By WestJet | | 4 min read

WestJet management is committed to achieving an agreement that is competitive within Canada’s airline industry and acknowledges the importance of our pilots, while at the same time secures WestJet’s financial future and avoids unnecessary disruption for Canadian travellers and communities.

To set the record straight, WestJet is sharing some quick facts.

What does ALPA mean by a “North American standard contract"?

  • There is no such thing as a standard contract that spans a continent in any industry; contracts need to reflect national labour laws, cost of living, economic environment and geography associated with the country a person is employed in.

  • A WestJet contract equally needs to reflect the realities in which WestJet operates.

  • WestJet mainline pilots are amongst the best paid pilots in Canada. 

  • ALPA is suggesting that Canadian pilots earn roughly half of what U.S. pilots earn and creating an expectation that wages should be doubled as part of a new agreement, to reflect the U.S. industry. 

  • WestJet’s 737 pilots are amongst the top Canadian income earners across all professions.

  • To further contrast Canada’s aviation sector, the U.S. aviation sector is supported by tax money and saw strong financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • ALPA’s expectations of wages, if realized, would pose a significant impact to WestJet’s ability to remain competitive and provide affordable air travel to Canadians.

Is there a risk of labour action?

  • WestJet is committed to a reasonable contract that includes meaningful improvements to the current agreement.

  • WestJet believes labour action can be avoided, as both parties continue to negotiate in earnestness at this time.

  • In the unlikely circumstance of a work stoppage, WestJet is prepared with contingency planning to minimize what could be significant impacts to guest travel.

  • WestJet is not willing to put the future of the company and 15,000 jobs at risk by agreeing to a contract that isn’t financially viable for the long-term future. With the endorsement of WestJet’s Board of Directors, WestJet is ready to financially weather labour action if required.

Is WestJet losing pilots? 

  • At WestJet mainline, resignations have been relatively low, and the company has hired three times more pilots into WestJet mainline this year, than there have been resignations.
  • Amongst the resignations of WestJet Mainline and Swoop pilots, the majority of those who disclose their future employer, depart for a domestic opportunity.
  • Where WestJet is seeing the greatest pilot attrition is in its regional subsidiary, WestJet Encore. While Encore is not subject to the current bargaining, it is worth noting that WestJet management is committed to improving career perspective and job security for its valued Encore pilots.

Our focus remains at the bargaining table, as we are actively negotiating and are unwaveringly committed to achieving an agreement that is competitive within Canada’s airline industry. We believe with a commitment from both parties, an agreement is achievable.  

WestJet’s primary focus remains unchanged: ensuring we have a long-term sustainable future so that we can continue to operate critical air service for millions of Canadians, while providing jobs for thousands at the WestJet Group.