The Government of Canada asked WestJet to cut travel to and from Mexico and the Caribbean as part of their efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The carrier has agreed to temporarily cease international flights to 14 sunny destinations.
On Friday (January 29, 2021), WestJet announced that they will temporarily cease international flying to 14 Mexican and Caribbean destinations at the request of the Canadian Government. The flight suspensions are part of the Government’s continued effort to fight the spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Starting January 31, 2021 at 12:01 AM ET, WestJet will suspend international southbound operations to select destinations through April 30, 2021. WestJet will work over the next two weeks to repatriate guests who are currently overseas at the impacted destinations. In Friday’s announcement, WestJet’s President and CEO, Ed Sims, said,
“The government asked, and we agreed. While we know that air travel is responsible for less than two per cent of cases since the start of the crisis, and even less today, we recognize the Government of Canada's ask is a precautionary measure. We also note that the overwhelming majority of quarantine exemptions, well over 90 per cent in fact, are connected to land borders and not air travel. We have responded to their request and will suspend service to destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean.”
Prior to the Global COVID-19 pandemic, WestJet and subsidiary regional airlines, WestJet Encore and WestJet Link, offered scheduled service to over 110 destinations across North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe. WestJet and WestJet Encore continue to connect all 38 of the carrier’s Canadian domestic airports with reduced capacity, ensuring essential cargo and passenger connectivity. During these unprecedented times, the carrier has maintained their rating by Cirium as one of the top ten airlines for on-time performance in North America.
Editor's Note: As expected, following WestJet's route suspension announcement was followed by similar announcement from Canadian carriers including WestJet subsidiary Swoop, Air Canada and Air Transat.