WestJet CEO Demands Changes to Air Industry Policies

WestJet CEO Demands Changes to Air Industry Policies

DALLAS — WestJet (WS) CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech recently traveled to Ottawa to update parliamentarians on the recovery of the airline industry and to demand changes to policies that hold airlines solely accountable for performance.

According to a release by the airline, von Hoensbroech emphasized the “record-setting demand” that surpassed pre-pandemic levels during the summer and how WS maintained stable operations during that time.

The airline CEO addressed concerns about the industry’s recovery performance and highlighted the airline’s commitment to improving and rebuilding trust among its guests through operational performance.

WestJet C-GWSZ Boeing 737-800 (Micky Mouse livery). Photo: Max Langley/Airways

WestJet Statistics, Industry “Double Standards”

During his address, von Hoensbroech shared some statistics to support the airline’s claims of improved performance. WS hired over 2000 new staff members this year, and its on-time performance improved by 7% and baggage handling performance by 54.2%.

As part of his address to parliamentarians, von Hoensbroech also addressed the issue of double standards and the need for shared accountability in the aviation industry. He pointed out that airlines are the only service providers within the air travel ecosystem held accountable for their failures, while other entities are not subject to the same level of accountability.

The CEO highlighted the confusion and frustration this creates for guests when their travel plans are disrupted due to missteps by other service providers within the industry.

WestJet C-GWSU Boeing 737-7CT at Calgary International Airport. Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways

Proposed Changes to Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR)

According to a report by openjaw.com, von Hoensbroech discussed existing rules and proposed changes to the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR). He called for strengthening and amending Bill C52 to ensure that entities whose operations result in delays and cancellations have clear performance metrics, communication standards, and equal compensation requirements as airlines.

The CEO also raised concerns that the proposed APPR reforms would contradict Canada’s aviation safety culture, negatively impact regional connectivity and airfares, and diminish progress made in the recovering aviation industry.

Additionally, von Hoensbroech highlighted the need to clear the complaint backlog at the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) by imposing an equal service standard and requiring airlines to respond to complaints within 30 days to avoid guests waiting for 18 months for resolution.

WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech. Photo: WestJet

Who is Alexis von Hoensbroech?

After obtaining a doctorate in physics, von Hoensbroech spent his early career at the management consulting company, The Boston Consulting Group, in Munich and Tokyo, with clients primarily from the aviation industry.

In 2005, he became the head of strategy and investment management for the airline after joining the Lufthansa Group (LH). He then oversaw several integration projects and held the position of head of commercial at the airline’s major hub in Frankfurt (FRA). Later, he assumed the role of Chief Commercial Officer at Lufthansa Cargo AG.

Prior to joining WS in February of the previous year, he served as the CEO and CFO of Austrian Airlines (OS), where he implemented restructuring measures for the airline and its network to compete with ULCC competition in Austria. He also effectively guided the company through the challenges posed by the COVID crisis.

Do you agree with Hoensbroech’s push to change policies that hold airlines solely accountable for performance? Be sure to leave your comments on our social media channels.

Featured image: WESTJET C-GAWS BOEING 737-8CT(WL) #100 BOEING 737 NG. Photo: Liam Funnel/Airways

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