WestJet steps up calls to drop mask mandate for air travel, citing safety issues for flight crews

WestJet steps up calls to drop mask mandate for air travel, citing safety issues for flight crews

CALGARY — WestJet is calling for the removal of the mask mandate for air travel, saying that mask compliance continues to be a major factor in disruptive behaviour onboard its aircraft.

“We are emerging into a post-pandemic travel reality, and we recognize that many of our guests have experienced travel-related challenges and we understand how frustrating it can be when travel does not go as planned. Yet, as the overwhelming majority of our guests continue to do an exceptional job navigating travel, it only takes one instance of disruptive behaviour onboard our aircraft to create stress and uncertainty for all guests and crew,” says WestJet in its statement.

“While disruptive incidents are rare, unfortunately, mask compliance continues to be a common motivator of unruly behaviour onboard our aircraft,” says the carrier.

WestJet adds: “In alignment with our promise to prioritize the safety and well-being of everyone in WestJet’s world, we continue to advocate for the removal of legacy pandemic measures that are no longer backed by science and require our crew members to uphold measures that have been lifted in every other sector within our country.”

The statement notes that WestJetters have been committed to safety ever since the airline took flight more than 26 years ago. “Many aspects of air travel have changed over the last two and half years; our unwavering commitment to safety has not.”


Meanwhile both WestJet and Air Canada are seeing clearer skies ahead, based on the latest operational stats and outlooks.

WestJet’s latest update, for the week Aug. 15 – 22, shows the carrier continued to improve on its completion factor from the week prior, completing 99% of all scheduled flights throughout the week.

WestJet also says 64.9% of all of its scheduled and operated flights arrived within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival time. The airline says it continues to lead amongst major Canadian air carriers for its on-time performance.

Over at Air Canada, the carrier’s chief financial officer, Amos Kazzaz, told an investors conference yesterday that the airline expects the airport chaos at Canada’s biggest gateways to ebb in the coming months as more hires come onboard.

“As time goes by, we certainly don’t expect to see this sort of disruption into 2023. I think it will continue to improve,” said Kazzaz, as reported in The Globe and Mail.

Last week Air Canada released its latest operational stats, including a 48% reduction in delays for the week of Aug. 8 versus the week of June 27, and for the same time period, a 77% reduction in the number of cancelled flights.

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