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WestJet Concludes Repatriation Flight Program with Global Affairs Canada
Earlier this week, WestJet announced the conclusion of its repatriation flight program with the Canadian Government. The final flight of the program was flight 3903 from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago to Toronto’s Pearson International airport. That flight was operated on July 17. and carried 171 passengers.
WestJet’s repatriation program began on April 4, and was part of WestJet’s efforts to return Canadian citizens home amid the carrier’s suspension of international service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program continued for just over 100 days. During that time, 28 flights were operated covering an impressive 122,146 miles flown and 286 hours of flying time. The program utilized WestJet’s Boeing 737-700 and 737-800 aircraft and brought the carrier to five new countries, including its first trip to South America; El Salvador, Panama, Guatemala, Guyana, and Haiti. Passengers were health screened and temperature checked before boarding the flights.
The flights operated as part of the program carried a total of 4,073 passengers. Ed Sims, the President, and CEO of WestJet said, “Our commitment to the Prime Minister was to bring as many Canadians home as possible; and following 28 missions, we are grateful for the volunteer contributions of more than 200 WestJetters and the collaboration from our airport and government partners. These individuals came together and demonstrated their Canadian spirit to ensure the safe return of our country’s citizens.”
WestJet also received praise from Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francois-Philippe Champagne, who said, “Over the last few months, Canada undertook its largest and most complex ever consular operation in peacetime to help Canadians return home during the COVID-19 pandemic. This operation could not have been a success without the extraordinary support of airlines and their dedicated employees who helped us bring more than 50,000 Canadians home. I extend our sincere gratitude to WestJet for their contribution in making these repatriations possible during this unprecedented health crisis.”
Although its repatriation program has come to an end, the airline continues to operate to all 39 of its domestic destinations on a reduced schedule to ensure essential travel, trade, and cargo continues.
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