Calgary-based WestJet introduced immediately that after months of negotiations it has formally closed talks with the federal authorities over a monetary assist package deal to help the airline in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The airline’s assertion launched this afternoon comes a day after Canada introduced it could reopen the border to totally vaccinated U.S. residents subsequent month and to vaccinated vacationers from world wide in September.
“Given encouraging vaccination charges throughout the nation, each events have mutually agreed to shift the main target from these negotiations and away from taxpayer-funded help to a secure restart of the journey and tourism sectors,” WestJet mentioned within the assertion.
The federal authorities introduced this and the airline agreed “by mutual settlement … to droop constructive talks” and was open to resuming talks sooner or later if essential.
Main airways have been asking the federal government for monetary assist for months. The airways argued that an assist package deal was urgently wanted as a lifeline for an business onerous hit by the pandemic. Air visitors sank to all-time lows as airways suffered border closings, journey restrictions and quarantine orders.
A number of airways have already entered into multi-million or multi-billion greenback agreements with the federal government to reimburse passengers for flights canceled in the course of the pandemic.
Air Canada has signed a $ 5.9 billion contract with the federal authorities consisting of soppy loans; The federal government invested $ 500 million within the firm. Air Transat additionally secured a $ 700 million help package deal. Porter Airways’ father or mother firm obtained a federal mortgage of as much as $ 270 million.
Conservative visitors critic Stephanie Kusie focused Transport Minister Omar Alghabra after WestJet’s announcement. Alghabra posted a video on social media this morning displaying that he met with recalled WestJet workers this morning.
“You tried to idiot us immediately with your entire constructive @WestJet posts,” Kusie tweeted. “The reality is rising. This announcement proves that the business all the time knew it was by itself and able to transfer on with out you.”
The workplace of Deputy Prime Minister and Treasury Secretary Chrystia Freeland mentioned it had supplied “important help” to the aviation sector.
“This help thus far consists of greater than $ 2 billion in airline wage subsidies and $ 1 billion introduced within the Fall Financial Assertion for airports and smaller airways,” Freelands spokeswoman Kat Cuplinskas wrote.
WestJet CEO mentioned the corporate by no means needed a “bailout”
Earlier than Ed Sims, President and CEO of WestJet, started talks with the federal government, he mentioned it was not about cash and that his firm was not looking for a “bailout”. As an alternative, the airline mentioned it needed the federal government to provide you with a restoration plan for the business, he mentioned.
WestJet’s books are closed to the general public as it’s privately owned by Toronto-based Onex Corp.
“We do not search insurance policies that strictly help our backside line, and albeit that is not what the nation wants,” Sims wrote to MPs and Senators in December 2020.
CBC Information has reported that WestJet’s name for a plan to renew home air visitors in March created pressure within the talks. The talks that started within the new 12 months with Deputy Finance Minister Michael Sabia are confidential and people concerned have signed non-disclosure agreements.
In immediately’s assertion, WestJet mentioned it was open to resuming talks with the federal government about monetary help sooner or later.
WestJet not too long ago apologized, saying it made a mistake by refusing to refund some prospects for rebooked flights in the course of the pandemic. The admission got here after an investigation by CBC Information into buyer complaints.