WestJet hikes fees, warns of further travel drop after Nav Canada fare hike

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WestJet Airlines Ltd. is increasing its surcharges on domestic flights in response to a 30 percent increase in fares from Nav Canada, which provides air navigation across the country.The airline says it has increased the fees charged for air traffic control services from $ 4 to $ 7 per passenger, depending on the length of the flight.

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He also says he is considering a call for the rate hike, which will take effect Tuesday, and remove the surcharge if the move is successful.

“We are deeply concerned that Nav Canada’s rate hikes will result in further reduction in the number of travelers,” WestJet CEO Ed Sims said in a statement.

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“We are sensitive to their situation, like ours, where a lack of sector-specific federal support has hampered their ability to recover. Burdening travelers who have been severely affected by this pandemic with additional costs will only jeopardize Canada’s economic recovery.










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Air Canada said it was still reviewing the impact of the decision, announced by Nav Canada in May. Transat plans to adjust its rates to reflect the higher cost, rather than including it as a supplement.

The fare hike represents a “significant additional cost” to carriers, highlighting the “flaws” in the country’s user-pay model and hampering the industry’s already uncertain recovery, said Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick.

Meanwhile, some airports have said they will halve their airport improvement fees after laying off hundreds of employees, adding to carriers’ financial concerns.

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Robert Kokonis, president of Toronto-based consulting firm AirTrav Inc., says the Nav Canada fee increase will hit the hardest on travelers trying to visit friends and family as travel costs domestic affairs have largely dried up.

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“These are people who are suffering economically as well, and asking them to come up with an additional $ X adds insult to a very serious injury,” Kokonis said.

The higher supplement at WestJet could cost a family of four up to $ 56 more for a round trip.

Canada, unlike countries like France, Germany and the United States, has delayed sector support to carriers. Instead, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rolled out financial aid available to all industries, including the federal wage subsidy – now extended through December – and loans starting at $ 60 million for large businesses.










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“Ottawa fiddles with the house on fire. I can’t say better. They are all frustrated that nothing is coming out of Ottawa, ”Kokonis said of Canadian airlines.

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Transat spokesman Christophe Hennebelle criticized Canada’s continued blanket restriction on foreign travelers and called for increased financial assistance.

“Nav Canada has no choice but to increase its service charges. However, this can only make the situation worse, “Hennebelle said in an email, pointing to” the complete collapse in passenger volume “.

To lure customers to the skies, carriers north of the border have largely waived change fees until a few days before takeoff.

In the United States, United Airlines on Sunday waived its change fee of US $ 200 for domestic flights.

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© 2020 The Canadian Press



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