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WestJet Threatens to Cease Maintenance Operations
Mar 08, 2024

March 8, 2024

In a company-wide webinar held on March 5, WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech described negotiations with the carrier’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (AMEs) as “contentious” and denigrated the Union for seeking American standard terms and conditions of employment for its members. Von Hoensbroech then read from his teleprompter:

“With regards to tech ops, there are various operating models in the airline industry. There are airlines that have the majority of their tech ops done in-house. There are airlines that actually have no in-house tech ops at all and outsource it all. So, there are various ways.

Von Hoensbroech then said that he was “optimistic” that WestJet would continue to perform its aircraft maintenance “in-house for the most part” …

But it also requires that the cost at which we operate is in line with the market because at the end of the day, we have to compete with other airlines and these other airlines are free to choose in the market as well with how they operate their tech ops.”

“Perhaps von Hoensbroech felt he was being subtle,” commented AMFA Region II Director Will Abbott, “subtle like an anvil dropped on a man’s head.”

“Von Hoensbroech’s comments were an unmistakable threat to outsource WestJet’s maintenance operations unless the AMEs moderate their demands. Such threats during the collective bargaining process are unlawful under the Canada Labour Code and we will be filing the appropriate charge with the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB).”

“But it’s also bad business. No passenger wants to hear that an airline is getting out of the business of maintaining its own aircraft. When you buy a ticket, you expect your airline to deliver a qualified Pilot, a qualified Flight Attendant, and an aircraft maintained by qualified AMEs. A reputable airline cannot abdicate its responsibility to stand behind the airworthiness of planes.”


Will Abbott
Region II Director


7853 E. Arapahoe Court, Suite 1100
Centennial, CO 80112

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