WestJet drops out of talks with authorities on pandemic support | CBC Information

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Calgary-based WestJet stated at the moment that after months of negotiations, it has formally ended talks with the federal authorities on a monetary support package deal to assist the airline through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The assertion from the airline, launched this afternoon, comes a day after Canada introduced it plans to reopen the border to completely vaccinated U.S. residents subsequent month and to vaccinated travellers from all over the world in September.

“Given encouraging vaccination charges throughout the nation, each events have mutually agreed to shift focus from these negotiations, and away from taxpayer-funded help, to main the protected restart of the journey and tourism sector,” WestJet stated within the assertion.

Main airways have been lobbying the federal government for months for monetary assist. The carriers argued an support package deal was desperately wanted as a lifeline for an business hit exhausting by the pandemic. Air journey dropped to historic lows as airways endured border closures, journey restrictions and quarantine orders.

A number of carriers already have reached multimillion or multibillion greenback offers with the authorities in trade for refunding passengers for flights cancelled through the pandemic.

Air Canada reached a $5.9 billion cope with the federal authorities consisting of low-interest loans; the federal government took a $500 million fairness stake within the firm. Air Transat additionally secured a $700 million help package deal. The father or mother firm of Porter Airways obtained a federal mortgage of as much as $270 million.

Conservative transport critic Stephanie Kusie took goal at Transport Minister Omar Alghabra following WestJet’s announcement. Alghabra posted a video on social media earlier at the moment exhibiting he met with recalled WestJet workers this morning.

“You tried to idiot us at the moment with your whole constructive @WestJet posts,” tweeted Kusie. “The reality comes out. This announcement proves the business at all times knew they have been on their very own and are prepared to maneuver on with out you.”

WestJet’s total passenger volumes dropped practically 90 per cent in 2020 in comparison with the 12 months earlier than. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press )

WestJet’s CEO stated firm by no means wished a “bailout”

Earlier than coming into talks with the federal government, WestJet’s president and CEO Ed Sims stated it wasn’t concerning the cash and his firm was not in search of a “bailout.” As an alternative, the airline stated it wished the federal government to put out a restoration plan for the business, he stated.

WestJet’s books are closed to the general public because it’s privately owned by Toronto-based Onex Corp.

“We’re not in search of coverage that strictly helps our backside line and, frankly, that isn’t what the nation wants,” Sims wrote to MPs and senators in December 2020.

CBC Information has reported that in March, WestJet’s demand for a plan to restart home air journey triggered some stress on the talks. The talks that began within the new 12 months with Deputy Finance Minister Michael Sabia are confidential and people concerned have signed non-disclosure agreements.

In at the moment’s assertion, WestJet stated it stays open to resuming talks with the federal government about monetary help sooner or later.

WestJet not too long ago apologized and stated it made an error by refusing some prospects’ refunds for rebooked flights through the pandemic. The admission got here after a CBC Information investigation into complaints from prospects.

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