When news emerged of the possibility of a pilot strike at WestJet, no-frills carrier Flair Airlines was quick to let Canadians know it stood ready to lend a hand.
“We’re swooping in to help you out!,” the Kelowna, B.C.-based company tweeted last week, taking a swipe at WestJet’s new low-cost airline Swoop. The airline said it would match the original fare paid by any WestJet passenger left stranded by the strike.
But Flair is also currently engaged in labour negotiations with its pilots, Global News has learned.
According to a memo published on the website of Unifor 2002, Flair pilots voted 98 per cent in favour of “legal job action – if necessary – in order to obtain a fair and equitable first contract.”
Ninety-six percent of members took part in the vote, according to the note, which adds that Unifor and Flair are set to meet again from June 5 to June 8 in Kelowna for further talks.
Flair confirmed the accuracy of the information to Global News.
“We (the management at Flair) are very confident that an agreement will be reached. Flair is deeply committed to doing the right thing for all its employees,” the company said in an emailed statement.
The airline added that “there is no risk of flight cancellations and delays at Flair,” as negotiations are ongoing and “the process is very active.”
Referencing the upcoming talks in Kelowna in its online note, Unifor also said that it has “every intention to conclude the bargaining process whereby we reach a tentative agreement.”
Still, Canadians flying this summer may have to watch out for labour turbulence.
WATCH: WestJet is in a holding pattern as it tries to negotiate a settlement with its pilots. Mike Drolet reports on how passengers could be affected by a potential strike.
WestJet passengers across the country are holding their breath as the Calgary-based airline continues contract negotiations with its union, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).
ALPA members voted 91 per cent in favour of a strike on May 10 but committed to hold off any job action until after Victoria Day in order to avoid passenger travel disruptions during the long weekend.
Although, negotiations between WestJet and the union have resumed in Calgary, the pilots could issue at 72-hour strike notice at any time now.
The airline has said it will refund the full fare, including fees and taxes, to any travellers whose flights are cancelled due to a labour stoppage.
Flair Airlines began operating as an ultra-low-cost airline in June 2017, after purchasing the assets of NewLeaf Travel Company. It currently flies from Hamilton, Ont., Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Abbotsford, B.C., Kelowna and Vancouver.
On June 15, the company will be adding Halifax, Saskatoon, Calgary, as well as Prince George and Victoria in B.C., to its destinations.
WestJet’s Swoop is scheduled to begin flying from Abbotsford, Hamilton, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Halifax on June 20. The airline plans to add an additional Winnipeg-Abbotsford route on Aug. 16.
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