We understand completely that the title of this blog post is what most Canadians are feeling right now. You’re looking for a refund and we get it. Up until this point, quite plainly, the financial position of airlines around the world has been precarious. Since March, we have done everything we can to reduce costs and streamline our operations as best we could in the face of a 95 per cent drop in demand. We went 72 days in a row where cancellations outstripped bookings, something that has not happened – ever – in our almost 25-year history. Thankfully, we are seeing bookings higher than cancellations now but still at a level that sees more than 140 of the 181 aircraft in our fleet parked and more than 4,000 WestJetters permanently laid off. These are devastating statistics, ones I never thought I would see in my 35-year career in this industry.
It has been incredibly disheartening for anyone working here at one of Canada’s most beloved brands not to be able to demonstrate that we have our guests at the heart of every decision. Love us or hate us right now, we are doing everything we can to make sure we’re around tomorrow, and next year, for you hopefully to, love us once more.
Through the efforts of thousands of WestJetters, we are confident that we can now begin providing refunds proactively. We are the first national airline in Canada to do so.
To our guests – thank you for your patience these past eight months as we did everything to ensure we could afford to get to this news today. Please understand this will take us many months to clear the backlog but we are up to the task and we appreciate your patience as our digital and contact centre teams ramp up our capabilities to provide refunds at this scale.
To our WestJetters – thank you for your patience and understanding as we have navigated through this crisis. We are by no means out of the woods yet. You have been the face of WestJet throughout this crisis and you have always represented our airline commendably.
To the governments across Canada – we appreciate the support we have received thus far. The Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy program was a vital lifeline for us, and we are appreciative of all it has allowed us to do.
Airlines play a critical role in the travel and tourism food chain, bringing tens of millions of people to Canada each year; filling our hotels, restaurants, convention centres and tourist attractions. We reunite loved ones around the world. The greatest action the government could take as we begin to recover is to reassess the aviation infrastructure as a whole. While the industry, and Canadians, struggle to get back on their feet, WestJet have today taken a further step to accelerate our country’s economic recovery.