Passengers flying with WestJet from the Regina International Airport may have their travel impacted this weekend if a deal is not reached between the pilots and their employer.
On Monday, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents around 1,600 flight crew at WestJet, issued a 72-hour strike notice, which will take effect on Friday at 3:00 a.m. MT.
Justin Reves is the Director of Revenue Development, Public Relations, and Customer Experience for the Regina Airport Authority and says if a deal is not reached by Friday, the airport will face significant interruptions.
“We don’t know exactly what the means, we don’t know the breath and the scope of which flights or how many flights if it’s all or some,” says Reves. “It’s a little bit unfortunate and we know travelers out there are wondering what plans should I make.”
In a release by the ALPA, it says the union has been negotiating with WestJet’s management for about nine months and is looking for better job security, industry-standard pay, and a more flexible schedule to allow for a better work-life balance. In addition, they would live to create a proposal that would help rectify WestJet’s pilot attraction and retention crisis.
If a strike was to happen, it would have a major impact, as WestJet has the largest market share at the airport with seven to 10 flights per day.
In lieu of this possible strike, the Calgary-based airline did announce options for WestJet flight-only bookings between May 15 and 21.
They are offering a $0 one-time fee waiver for changes or cancellations to the flight plan. If a change is made to your destination, the difference in fare applies and if you cancel your flight the refund will be processed to your original form of payment.
A change or cancellation must be requested more than two hours prior to departure.
The same information applies to those that booked a vacation through WestJet Vacations.
For Swoop travelers, which is owned by WestJet, impacted travellers will be notified of cancellations by email and can select alternate flights if available, or be provided with a refund to the original form of payment.
They are encouraged to visit the Swoop Traveller Info Hub for more information.
Reves says that to prepare for the possibility of a strike, the airport has planned to bring in additional staff to help make the process as smooth as possible and help assist travellers.