Airline is warning passengers to brace for ongoing flight disruptions in Canada

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Published July 2, 2024 at 7:05 am

Anthony Urciuoli/hamilton.insauga.com photo

WestJet is warning its passengers to brace for ongoing flight disruptions and cancellations as it works to recover from a two-day strike by 680 aircraft mechanics.

Despite reaching a tentative deal with the mechanics’ union Sunday night, returning to business-as-usual will take more time.

One challenge is getting crews to the dozens of planes that are parked at 13 airports across the country.

The airline said in a statement Monday morning that “full resumption of operations will take time and further cancellations will be required over the coming days.”

Some 680 members of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association had walked off the job on Friday evening despite a directive for binding arbitration from federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan.

The tentative agreement was announced late Sunday night, but the strike had already disrupted the travel plans of tens of thousands of travellers over the Canada Day long weekend.

The airline said it had cancelled around 830 flights scheduled between Thursday and Monday. It later said another 214 flights were cancelled on Monday on top of 78 that had already been chopped, and 27 flights have been cancelled for Tuesday.

The Calgary-based airline says part of the challenge it faces is that its aircrafts are parked at 13 airports across Canada, and in several cases, the crews need to be transported to the aircraft for retrieval.

A statement from the union says “the timing was coincidental as the negotiation process did not follow a predictable timeline and if members ratify it, the compulsory arbitration ordered by the labour minister won’t be necessary.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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