Shortly after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced various measures to close the Canadian border, in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, WestJet released a statement from president and CEO Ed Sims that the airline would suspend international and transborder flights for 30 days, beginning one minute before midnight on Sunday, March 22.
Below is the full statement from Sims:
Today, Prime Minister Trudeau made an explicit declaration to all Canadians abroad that it is time to come home. Based on this statement and the recommendations to Canadians to control the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, we have made impactful decisions related to our operations.
On Sunday, March 22 at 11:59 p.m. MDT, we will suspend scheduled commercial operations for all international and transborder flights for a 30 day period. To be clear, this means our final commercially scheduled flights from international and transborder destinations will launch on Sunday night by 11:59 p.m. local time; after that, we will be operating rescue and repatriation flights with our partners. As of tonight, international and transborder tickets are no longer available for sale during this 30-day period.
On Wednesday, March 18 at 11:59 p.m. MDT, WestJet will suspend all outbound international ticket sales for travel until Sunday, March 22 at 11:59 p.m. MDT, so we are no longer sending Canadians out of the country and can instead focus on bringing them home.
To assist Canadians in returning home on short notice, we are in the process of lowering prices on our remaining seats into Canada in all cabins.
In addition, we will also reduce our domestic schedule by approximately 50 per cent. At this point, all network changes are in place for the next 30 days.
WestJetters are known for our level of care and this situation is no different. While this is a difficult time, we now have the responsibility as a Canadian airline to bring our citizens home.
— Ed Sims, WestJet, President and Chief Executive Officer