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WestJet shares Operational Excellence program enhancements ahead of holiday travel season

December 11, 2023

Airline provides update on lessons learned and operational improvements to support peak winter travel

As Canadians look forward to the upcoming holiday season, WestJet is gearing up across all touchpoints of the guest journey with a strategic focus on digital enhancements, IT infrastructure management and operational resilience all aimed at delivering an improved travel experience over the busiest travel season of the year.

“Last year’s holiday season highlighted several weak spots across Canada’s aviation ecosystem as we faced unforeseen, compounding weather events across the country that exposed vulnerabilities within our operation and significantly impacted our guests travel experience,” said Diederik Pen, WestJet Group, Chief Operating Officer. “On the heels of a very successful summer, we are confident in the robust improvements we’ve made across all touchpoints of the travel journey. As we look towards the holiday season ahead, our focus remains on rebuilding trust and delivering an efficient and enjoyable travel experience to our valued guests.”

 

Improvements guests can expect

Leveraging lessons learned from 2022 and by investing in its operational excellence program, WestJet has been diligently preparing to meet the demand of the more than 1.5 million guests who will travel across its expansive network this holiday season. Through the strategic redesign of WestJet’s guest experience, WestJet has set the foundations to deliver a reliable operational performance in the face of peak winter demand.

 

Operational preparations

In preparation for peak winter travel, the WestJet Group has proactively positioned its fleet and staff to best serve Canadians by:

  • Working closely with Sunwing Airlines to bolster flying capacity through the peak winter season.
  • Leveraging aircraft from WestJet’s former ultra-low-cost-carrier, Swoop to aid in flight disruption recovery across its networks.
  • Transitioned to a new ground handling partnership at Calgary International Airport, WestJet’s largest hub and worked closely with service partners across its Canadian network to bolster and ensure improved on-time performance and baggage handling.

 

Self-serve and communication enhancements to keep guests and crews connected in the event of a travel disruption 

In the event of flight disruptions or delays this holiday season, WestJet has invested in enabling self-serve options for its guests, improved upon its guest and crew communication and proactively implemented contingency planning across its operation. This travel season, the airline has invested in the following updates:

  • SMS text notifications providing guests with timely updates on flight changes as information becomes available.
  • The ability for the vast majority of guests to self-serve during a flight disruption by either changing travel plans or cancelling their trip and requesting a refund.
  • Implementing new crew management software to assist the streamlined execution of crew scheduling to best support WestJet’s network and evolving schedule in the face of disruptions.
  • Improved crew communication tools, arming WestJetters with the most up to date information to best support guests.

“While we can’t control the weather, it is our responsibility and commitment to deliver a safe, seamless and reliable experience to our guests and ensure that when faced with obstacles, our operation is resilient and equipped to quickly respond and recover,” said Pen. “I want to thank the 12,000 WestJetters across our network, who have worked diligently to ready our operation for the holiday season and remain unwavering in their commitment to deliver the friendly and reliable travel experience that Canadians know and love 365 days a year.”