MIAMI – In a video statement today, WestJet (WS) CEO Ed Sims announced “organizational changes” to the airline as it deals with the ongoing pandemic.

The changes include consolidation of contact centers, contracting out airport operations in all domestic airports excluding Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto, and restructuring of office and management staff.

Sims said in the statement, “These changes we have announced today will affect 3,333 WestJetters who will be permanently leaving the airline…Reducing WestJetter roles has always been a last resort. If there were other viable options open to us we would be taking them.”

WestJet CEO announcement.

Breakdown of cut jobs

The breakdown of the 3,333 lost jobs is as follows; 430 call center positions, 2,300 airport operations staff, and 600 head office employees. Before the pandemic, WestJet employed 14,000 and 130 of 181 aircraft are parked.

In regard to the airport operation staff whose jobs are being contracted out, Sims says that WS will seek to find a suitable partner who can provide high airport service levels through their commitment to hire as many of the airline’s affected WestJetters as possible.

At the heart of the Canadian economy

WestJet had expanded across the Atlantic recently, with routes to London-Gatwick, Dublin, and Paris, with plans to expand further. Sims said in May WestJet may have to consider deferring or canceling deliveries of the 787, the aircraft used on those routes, due to lack of demand.

To help rebuild trust in flying again, Sims said that the effects of the pandemic would “be with us for a long time, and we are committed to building a guest experience that will incorporate technologies that will provide a touch-free experience at the airports that will make your travel journey easier and stress-free.”

Sims ended the video statement by saying “The new WesJet will be at the heart of Canada’s economic recovery.”