Alberta-based carrier WestJet was forced to dissolve Thursday to cancel about 15% of its flights by January 31 due to the large number of COVID-19 cases among staff.
Harry Taylor, WestJet’s president and CEO, said his company can no longer recruit the necessary staff for all of its scheduled flights in January.
“We were unable to anticipate the rapid and unexpected impact of the Omicron variant on our personnel and operations, as well as the freezing temperatures in Western Canada and workforce shortages. Despite our contingency plan […] “We are no longer able to allocate resources to our schedule,” Taylor said.
Changes to the flight schedule will be announced in the coming days, but it is already clear that about 15% will be cancelled. The CEO said that travelers will be able to get a refund.
The variant soon converged with WestJet, which has so far survived the wave of flight cancellations hitting airlines around the world.
On Monday, a company spokesperson, Morgan Bell, told QMI that the company had had one of its best operating times since the start of the pandemic during the holidays.
“Over the past few days, we’ve seen some of our busiest days since the start of the pandemic with nearly 50,000 passengers per day on more than 500 flights,” she said.
“Right now, we have staff going through the busy holiday season into early January,” Bell added.