WestJet Group CEO Advocates for Improved Air Travel Policies During Ottawa Visit
Alexis von Hoensbroech, Chief Executive Officer of the WestJet Group, met with key government officials and parliamentarians this week to discuss the airline's recent performance and address industry concerns. The meetings highlighted WestJet's commitment to enhancing its services and the need for shared accountability in the aviation sector.
WestJet's Summer Performance
Despite the challenges the aviation industry faces post-pandemic, WestJet has made significant strides in improving its services. "We responded to these hurdles with a commitment to do better, investing in our guests, our people, and technology across all touchpoints of the travel journey," stated von Hoensbroech. The airline reported a 7% improvement in on-time performance and a 54.2% enhancement in baggage handling. Furthermore, WestJet hired over 2000 employees across Canada in 2023 to bolster its operations.Advertising
Addressing Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR)
Von Hoensbroech expressed concerns regarding the proposed APPR reforms, emphasizing the need for shared accountability within the air travel ecosystem. He pointed out the discrepancy in response times, noting that while airlines must respond to APPR claims within 30 days, many WestJet guests have waited over 18 months for a response from the Canadian Transport Agency (CTA).
To improve the travel experience for Canadians, von Hoensbroech proposed several policy priorities:
- Strengthen and amend Bill C52 to ensure all entities responsible for delays have clear performance metrics and compensation requirements.
- Review the APPR reforms, considering their potential negative impact on Canada's aviation safety culture, regional connectivity, and airfares.
- Address the CTA's complaint backlog by imposing a service standard that ensures timely resolution.
WestJet's Growth Strategy
WestJet is poised for growth, with plans to enhance Canada's connectivity from coast to coast. Integrating Swoop, WestJet's ultra-low-cost carrier, and Sunwing Airlines into the WestJet Group will provide guests with more affordable travel options. The combined strengths of these airlines will offer ultra-affordable fares and vacation packages across Canada.
Founded in 1996, WestJet has transformed air travel in Canada, reducing airfares by half and serving over 50% of the Canadian flying population. From its humble beginnings with three aircraft and five destinations, WestJet now boasts over 180 planes and 14,000 employees and serves over 100 destinations in 26 countries.