WestJet's Downsizing Plan Could Affect More Than 3,000 Employees
- As layoffs loom in the U.S., airlines north of the border are shrinking too. WestJet, based in Calgary, announced a downsizing plan that will affect 3,333 of its workers. The airline is consolidating its call center activity, outsourcing more airport staffing. It’s also shrinking its management team. WestJet was a publicly traded airline for most of its life. But just last year (talk about bad timing), an investment firm called Onex bought the carrier and took it private.
Generally speaking, low-cost carriers are relatively well positioned to endure the current Covid crisis. But WestJet generates a large amount of its revenue from international flights to the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean, to speak nothing of the B787 routes it started flying to Europe.
International flying to and from Canada remains largely closed, to the dismay of the country’s airlines. WestJet was also chasing corporate business pre-crisis, a strategy ill-suited for the moment. On the other hand, its ultra-low-cost carrier Swoop could serve it well.