Canada’s second largest airline cancels hundreds of flights, stranding thousands of passengers


Thousands of passengers had their travel plans disrupted, and some were left stranded, after Canada’s second-largest airline canceled hundreds of flights this weekend.

WestJet canceled 832 flights between last Thursday and Tuesday, over the country’s Canada Day holiday weekend.

The strike ended up grounding 130 aircraft across 13 airports in Canada, and left some passengers sleeping overnight in terminals.

“It is [a] disaster,” Louisa Garcia told CTV News, explaining how she and her husband had slept at Vancouver International Airport after a 14-hour flight from Manila.

The couple were supposed to catch another flight at around 8pm on Saturday to their home in Edmonton.

“When we checked in for the connection … we learned that it was canceled and they did not send us an email,” she said, adding that while she was then booked on another flight for the morning, that one was also canceled.

Westjet planes are seen parked at a Westjet hangar at Toronto Pearson International airport on Sunday. WestJet canceled 832 flights between last Thursday and Tuesday, over the country’s Canada Day holiday weekend. (Getty Images)Westjet planes are seen parked at a Westjet hangar at Toronto Pearson International airport on Sunday. WestJet canceled 832 flights between last Thursday and Tuesday, over the country’s Canada Day holiday weekend. (Getty Images)

Westjet planes are seen parked at a Westjet hangar at Toronto Pearson International airport on Sunday. WestJet canceled 832 flights between last Thursday and Tuesday, over the country’s Canada Day holiday weekend. (Getty Images)

The groundings were the result of strike action by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association. The strike ended on Sunday after talks between the union and airline resumed.

It was not just passengers in Canada who faced disruptions. La Carmina, a Vancouver-based travel vlogger, told Vancouver is Awesome that she was stuck in Los Cabos, Mexico.

“I got an email after midnight [on Friday] saying that it was disrupted, then that there were no options for rebooking, very unhelpful,” the vlogger told the outlet.

Travellers wait in a queue at a Westjet counter in Toronto Pearson International airport on Sunday after hundreds of flights were cancelled due to strike action (Getty Images)Travellers wait in a queue at a Westjet counter in Toronto Pearson International airport on Sunday after hundreds of flights were cancelled due to strike action (Getty Images)

Travellers wait in a queue at a Westjet counter in Toronto Pearson International airport on Sunday after hundreds of flights were cancelled due to strike action (Getty Images)

At Winnipeg International Airport, others who had a layover in the airport on Saturday said they were fearing they would have to spend the night in the airport.

WestJet announced late on Sunday that strike action had been halted and “AMFA members will return to work as scheduled to immediately start work to restore the network” after a tentative agreement was reached.

The Airplane Mechanics Fraternal Association urged its members to return to work immediately pending a vote on the temporary agreement.

Some 680 workers, whose daily inspections and repairs are essential to airline operations, had walked off the job on Friday evening despite a directive for binding arbitration from Canada’s labor minister.

WestJet said late on Sunday that there will still be flight disruptions in the week ahead as its planes are brought back into service.

The Independent has contacted WestJet for comment.



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