Latest updates from WestJet, Sunwing and more as Mazatlan airport closes amid cartel violence

Latest updates from WestJet, Sunwing and more as Mazatlan airport closes amid cartel violence

TORONTO — Canadian travellers in Mazatlan and other destinations in the Mexican state of Sinaloa have been advised by the Canadian government to shelter in place in the wake of high-level cartel violence.

Mazatlan’s airport has closed, along with other airports in the area.

At travel.gc.ca, Canada posted this update for Mexico: “There is widespread violence and security operations in Sinaloa State, particularly in Culiacan, Mazatlan, Los Mochis and Guasave since the arrest, on January 5, 2023, of a cartel leader. There are burning cars, exchanges of fire and threat to essential infrastructure, including airports. The Culiacán and Mazatlán airports are closed and all flights are suspended at Los Mochis airport until further notice.”

The Canadian government is advising Canadians in Sinaloa to …

  • Limit their movements and shelter in place if possible
  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Don’t attempt to cross road blockades, even if they appear unattended
  • Allow extra time to reach your destination
  • Expect an increased presence of security forces
  • Contact their airline or tour operator to change their travel arrangements if necessary
  • Monitor local media for information on the evolving situation
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities

 

UPDATE FROM SUNWING, AIR CANADA & WESTJET

Sunwing, which offers Mazatlan, has this advice for travellers: “Customers travelling to or from Mazatlan over the next 24-48 hours are advised that the temporary closure of Mazatlan airport and surrounding roads may impact their travel plans and there is potential for flights to be delayed or cancelled. For Sunwing customers currently in Mazatlan, please reconfirm your transfer times with your Sunwing representative in destination before heading to the airport. Sunwing customers with upcoming travel plans for Mazatlan are advised to check their flight status for the most up-to-date information on flight times before departing Canada.”

Air Canada does not operate flights to Mazatlan, however the airline is keeping an eye on the situation. “None of the places we fly to in Mexico are affected. However, we are watching the situation closely,” Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick told Travelweek.

Travelweek also reached out to WestJet, which does operate flights into Mazatlan.

WestJet spokesperson Denise Kenny says: “We are monitoring the civil unrest in Sinaloa State closely and out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our guests and crews have proactively cancelled operations to and from Mazatlán International Airport today, January 6, 2023. All impacted guests have been notified.”

Kenny says the impacted flights are WS2042 (Vancouver to Mazatlán) and WS2043 (Mazatlán to Vancouver).

She adds: “As the situation continues to evolve, we will make operational changes in the name of safety as necessary. We advise all guests currently in the region to follow all response instructions provided by local authorities.”

WestJet’s current travel advisories are posted online at: https://www.westjet.com/en-ca/travel-info/advisories

News wire service The Canadian Press is reporting that Mexico’s violence began after a pre-dawn security operation yesterday, in which security forces captured alleged drug trafficker Ovidio ‘The Mouse’ Guzman, who is a son of former cartel boss Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, and that the violence is particularly fierce in Culiacan, Mazatlan, Los Mochis and Guasave. Canadian officials said on Twitter that cars had been lit on fire, guns were being fired and there was a threat to essential infrastructure, including airports.