WestJet will be suspending commercial flights for one month amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The suspension, which applies to commercial international and transborder flights, will begin Sunday, March 22 at 11:59 p.m. MDT (10:59 p.m. PST).
“After that, we will be operating rescue and repatriation flights in partnership with the Canadian government,” said WestJet president and CEO Ed Sims in a statement posted on the airline’s website.
The final commercially scheduled flights from international and transborder locations will take off Sunday, March 22 by 11:59 p.m. local time, said Sims.
Domestic flights will also be scaled back.
The announcement comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday told all Canadians abroad that “it is time to come home,” and only citizens, permanent residents and Americans would be allowed to enter the country.
Today, PM @JustinTrudeau made a declaration to Canadians abroad that it is time to come home. Based on this, we will be suspending our commercial operations for all international and transborder flights on Sunday, March 22 at 11:59 p.m. MDT. Read more - https://t.co/dJtNHeij8V pic.twitter.com/iCUpI0hDCP— WestJet (@WestJet) March 17, 2020
As of Monday night, tickets for international and cross-border destinations are no longer available for that 30-day period. Meanwhile, the sale of outbound international tickets will be suspended Wednesday March 18 at 10:59 p.m. PST until Sunday, March 22 at 10:59 p.m. PST.
“(This is) so we are no longer sending Canadians out of the country and can focus on bringing them home,” said Sims.
The airline is in the process of lowering prices on its remaining seats into Canada in all cabins, in an effort to help Canadians who are returning home on short notice, and is also reducing its domestic commercial flight schedule by “approximately 50 per cent,” according to the statement.
On Monday, the prime minister also announced that international flights will only be permitted to land at the Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and Calgary international airports.
While this is a difficult time, we now have the responsibility as a Canadian airline to bring our citizens home. For more details, and to understand how this impacts you, please visit https://t.co/6DSkCWV8nE— WestJet (@WestJet) March 17, 2020
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