WestJet calls for freeze on federal passenger fees

WestJet calls for freeze on federal passenger fees
WestJet calls for freeze on federal passenger fees

WestJet CEO calls on Ottawa to review airport and air transportation funding model to improve travel affordability.

Pending the results of this review, Alexis von Hoensbroech urges Ottawa to freeze all fees and other policies which increase the price of tickets.

According to CEO, during a speech to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, the various fees imposed by the federal government for air infrastructure represent $88 on each ticket, an increase of 15% compared to 2019.

This includes airport improvement fees, NAV Canada navigation service fees and security fees.

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WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech says the current fee model makes it difficult to reduce ticket prices.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Patrick Butler

This amount makes air transport in Canada difficult to compete and afford, argues the executive who was CEO of the carrier Austrian Airlines.

The largest ultra-low cost airline in the world is Ryanair. Its average revenue per ticket in Europe is lower than the price we pay for infrastructure. RyanAir could not survive in Canadahe said.

$.”,”text”:”This is one of the reasons why ultra-low-cost airlines have such difficulty growing in Canada and one of the reasons why we have great difficulty offering tickets for less than $100 .”}}”>This is one of the reasons why very low-cost airlines have such difficulty growing in Canada and one of the reasons why we have great difficulty offering tickets for less than $100.

WestJet is also asking Ottawa to stop collecting rent from airport authorities: This is simply unfair in a country where air travel is an essential mode of transportation.

Calgary Airport Authority president Chris Dinsdale noted that the 12 per cent of revenues paid in rent in Ottawa could be put to better use. billions of dollars in debt. We added 300millions of dollars in debt during the pandemic. These are difficult obstacles to overcome”,”text”:”We have $3.3 billion in debt. We added $300 million in debt during the pandemic. These are difficult obstacles to overcome”}}”>We have $3.3 billion in debt. We added $300 million in debt during the pandemic. These are difficult obstacles to overcomehe reacted, without commenting on a solution.

Nor did Alexis von Hoensbroech set out a model to follow.

According to McGill University Department of Aviation Lecturer John Gradek, the discussion on the user-pays model of air transportation has been discussed for decades.

The government will have to change the rules and allow private investment in airportshe believes. The carriers put pressure on the government and it works.

The federal budget thus mentions future relaxations in the governance model in order to support investments in airport facilities.

John Gradek doubts, however, that allowing investment in pension funds will improve affordability since these funds seek a good return on investment.

The Boeing problem

THE CEO of WestJet also discussed the company’s growth strategy. According to Alexis von Hoensbroech, the last five quarters have been profitable.

The company offers 88 direct routes and seeks to reach the 100 mark with Calgary as a base.

However, production problems at manufacturer Boeing are slowing the growth of WestJet, which has ordered up to 80 737 aircraft between 2024 and 2028.

It’s a worryrecognized Alexis von Hoensbroech, who reiterated his confidence in the American manufacturer’s products.

WestJet plans to acquire aircraft from other carriers, notably from the Lynx company which has ceased operations.

A densified plane

The carrier is also preparing to unveil a new category of airline tickets to replace its low-cost Swoop service. According to CEOthe rear of some aircraft will be densified with thinner seats.

Passengers in this category will only be able to bring hand luggage to put under the seat in front of them, but will not have access to the overhead luggage compartments.

Some passengers want a better experience and are willing to pay more. Others want the lowest prices possible. It’s part of our philosophy to offer more choicehe explained.

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