WestJet launches new B.C. non-stop route as dispatchers seek to unionize

Residents in the logging and resources town of Terrace, in B.C.’s Skeena region, will have non-stop flight access to Calgary twice per week starting Sept. 4, WestJet announced Aug. 7.

The news comes amid a flurry of small news items surrounding the Calgary-based airline.

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WestJet also announced Aug. 7 that it expects today (Aug. 7) to fly more guests than on any other day in its history: an estimated 80,219. Its previous record was flying 79,961 guests on Dec. 22, 2017.

There is also news of possible future labour uncertainty at WestJet, given that its approximately 78 dispatchers intend to unionize.

The Canadian Airline Dispatchers Association (CALDA) said in an Aug. 6 release that, on Aug. 3, it filed an application with the Canada Industrial Relations Board to represent WestJet’s dispatchers.

“As WestJet continues to grow and evolve, WestJet flight dispatchers believed it was essential to evaluate which employee representation model was best suited to represent flight dispatchers,” said the association’s national president Russ Williams in the release.

“Through this process, the dispatch group felt that now was the time to make a change and a decision was made to become members of CALDA.”

CALDA already represents dispatchers at Air Canada, Jazz Aviation, First Air, Sunwing and Air Transat. CALDA said adding the WestJet dispatchers will bring its membership to around 300.

As for Terrace residents, the news that they will be able to take a non-stop flight to Calgary will be good for people who intend to either fly to Cowtown or connect with other flights out of that Alberta city.

Previously, they would have had to take a one-stop flight with Air Canada or WestJet. Air Canada and WestJet already fly non-stop between Terrace and Vancouver.

Including Terrace, WestJet has 63 non-stop destinations out of its Calgary headquarters. That is more than any other airline.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom

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