WestJet Calls Canadian Travel Advisory a “Setback” to Airline Industryby Daniel McCarthy /
The second-largest Canadian air carrier behind Air Canada is pushing back against the blanket travel advisor issued last week by the Canadian government.
WestJet, in a statement, said it was strongly opposed to the advisory, which asked Canadian citizens to avoid non-essential international travel due to the continued spread of the Omicron variant.
"Air travel is the most tested and protected consumer activity in Canada, every person traveling internationally is tested on average twice throughout their travel journey," said Harry Taylor, WestJet President, and interim CEO.
Taylor, who won’t be CEO for too much longer as WestJet also recently announced that Alexis von Hoensbroech will take over as CEO sometime in the first quarter of 2022, said that it’s time for the government to share the data behind their decision.
"As the only fully-vaccinated air travel sector in the world, WestJet is calling on the government to publicly share the travel-related COVID-19 data that has been used to re-impose the advisory and advice targeted towards fully-vaccinated Canadians and the travel and tourism industry."
Canada, according to WestJet, remains firmly out of step with other international policies, including the policy from its neighbor to the south, the U.S., and other policies from the European Union and the U.K.
The new policy also contradicts guidance from the World Health Organization, which said that blanket travel bans will not prevent the spread of COVID-19 and will instead only impact lives and livelihoods.
"Since the onset of the pandemic, we have safely flown more than seven million guests and air travel has been commended for its commitment to safety. Fully-vaccinated Canadians should not be singled-out for choosing to take part in a safe activity," Taylor said.
"Travel bans, restrictions, and blanket advisories are devastating to the continued economic recovery of our country and place tens of thousands of recently recalled Canadian travel and tourism jobs at risk. We are very concerned today's announcement will create unnecessary disruption and chaos in advance of the holiday travel season."