WestJet cutbacks to be felt in Kelowna in February | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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WestJet cutbacks to be felt in Kelowna in February

Image Credit: WestJet
December 29, 2020 - 7:00 AM

WestJet Airline’s presence at Kelowna International Airport is expected to be significantly diminished by the first week of February.

As announced in June, the airline had to undergo some significant organizational changes.

Those changes include contracting out airport operations in all domestic airports outside of Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto and at the time, WestJet said 3,333 employees across the country would be affected. In the time that's passed, it sought preferential employment opportunities for as many of the airport roles as possible.

Kelowna staff said this week that will mean WestJet’s contingent of an estimated 50 employees will all lose their jobs starting the second week of February so contractors can be brought in. With less space needed, the footprint of the airline should shrink in tandem, with multiple rooms now to be vacant.

“The COVID-19 crisis hit WestJet and the global aviation industry with devastating force,” WestJet communications staff said.

“Since the beginning of March, guest traffic has dropped significantly — we are operating at approximately a 75% reduction year over year and have been forced to suspend the vast majority of our flying due to the pandemic.”

WestJet said the schedule takes into account fluctuating demand trends that are being propelled by domestic and international travel restrictions, border closures and quarantine requirements globally.

“We understand and appreciate how difficult this unprecedented situation is for all and continue to provide flexibility in booking, change and cancellation policies for our guests."

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