Latest round of WestJet cuts not to impact YQR International Airport

Calgary-based airline WestJet announced cuts Friday they say are in response to the federal government’s testing requirements for travelers.

It comes as passengers coming from outside of Canada are required to receive a PCR test that comes back negative within three days of their flight to Canada. That would still require the passenger to self-isolate upon arrival for two weeks.

YQR International Airport President and CEO James Bogusz says the pilot project model in Calgary, which has been approved by the federal and Alberta provincial governments, is a more ideal program.

“When you take that first COVID test when you get back into the airport — so a different program than the one just announced before New Year’s — and then you take a second test about a week later,” Bogusz said. “If they’re both negative, it actually reduces your quarantine period, whereas this test that’s been announced is in addition to a full 14-day quarantine regardless of whether or not it’s negative.”

WestJet announced a 30 percent reduction in its capacity and a reduction of 160 domestic flights.

Bogusz says none of those impacted flights are connected to Regina.

“Frankly, we don’t have a lot left to cut,” Bogusz said. “Depending on the day of the week, we could be anywhere as low as three departures now — and that’s with both WestJet and Air Canada — and on a busier day we might be upwards of seven or eight (departures).”

WestJet also announced that 1,000 employees would have their jobs impacted by either furloughs, temporary layoffs, unpaid leaves, and reduced hours.

Plane Vs. catering vehicle mishap grounds Air Canada plane at YQR

There was also a strange situation at the YQR International Airport this morning, as an Air Canada plane had to remain on the ground.

The aircraft was wedged with a catering vehicle that was being used to load food into the aircraft.

President and CEO James Bogusz says Air Canada is working with YQR staff on the issue.

“It did cause a delay to one of the Air Canada flights going out to Toronto which was destined out at 8:50 AM (Friday morning).”

Bogusz says there are currently no details to report on the amount of damage done to either the catering vehicle or the plane.

“I’m sure Air Canada is going to do a review on the situation, I can only visually see it at a distance because the area is corded off for them to do their work,” Bogusz said. “I’m not the aircraft maintenance (technician, but) I’m sure they’re going to go over that aircraft in detail.

“Thankfully though, when all of this occurred, no one was on board the aircraft,” Bogusz added. “It was basically just being loaded with catering goods.”

Bogusz adds this is the first time he’s seen anything like this in his 20 years in the aviation industry.

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