WestJet Schedules Extra Repatriation Flights For Canadians

Canadian airline WestJet is providing additional flights in order to repatriate Canadian citizens from abroad in the coming days. The airline has said that 34 flights will operate with the sole purpose of bringing Canadian nationals back onto home soil. The news comes as travel restrictions around the world get tighter and international services are cut.

WestJet repatriation
WestJet’s repatriation flights will begin on Monday. Photo: Getty Images

Returning Canadians back home

Last night, a travel ban came into effect which prohibited the movement of individuals across the US-Canada border unless travel was essential. This measure is representative of the ever-tightening restrictions on foreign travel at the current time.

As such, many Canadians are being urged by their government to return home. But how can that be done when more and more flights are slashed each day? Well, in order to facilitate this, WestJet will be offering additional flights with the sole intention of getting Canadians home. In a press release on the airline’s blog, WestJet President and CEO Ed Sims said:

“In the face of this global crisis, WestJetters are dedicated to bringing Canadians home. WestJet is known for its caring spirit and will do the right thing for our country, for our guests, and for our people.”

WestJet will provide 34 flights from international destinations back to Canada starting from tomorrow. In a two day period, many of the remaining Canadians stranded abroad should be back home. For WestJet, this move is becoming business as usual. It already started some of its rescue mission last week. In the past seven days, it operated 10 repatriation flights back to Canada. However, over three times that amount will be run between Monday and Wednesday. It seems as though the pressure is on to get Canadians back quickly.

WestJet 737
The focus is now to get people home and quickly. Photo: Getty Images

Where will WestJet be flying?

Of course, it would be impossible for WestJet to collect every single passenger. It’s concentrating its efforts in the US, Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. The very first of these repatriation flights to operate tomorrow will be from Lihue, Kauai in Hawaii. Flight number 1875 will leave Lihue on the 23rd March at 22:40 local time and arrive in Vancouver at 07:20 the following day (local time).

The first flight will be between LIH and Vancouver. Photo: Great Circle Mapper

The final flight from WestJet will be flight number 2619 which will leave Belize City on 25th March at 13:45 local time. The aircraft will arrive in Toronto Pearson at 20:10.

WestJet’s operation seems to be fairly well oiled. There are plenty of flights operating between these two dates. Other destinations include San José in Costa Rica, Montego Bay in Jamaica and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. Passengers are urged to make the most of these flights.

As could be expected, the repatriation flights from WestJet have been in high demand. So much so that some of the services are completely booked already. WestJet’s one and only flight from St. John’s in Antigua and Barbuda can no longer be booked due to full capacity. It’s the same for WestJet’s single flight from Mazatlán in Mexico.

Now is certainly a tough time for the airline but it seems to be doing all it can to maintain some form of structure. The airline has also said that it will cease all international and transborder operations on Sunday, March 22 at 11:59 p.m. MDT.

Have you been affected by WestJet’s announcement? Let us know in the comments below.