WestJet concerned third-party charges undermining Canada’s economic recovery

Cost of flying will go up due to increase in NAV CANADA rates

WestJet today announced an increase to domestic traveller surcharges to account for NAV CANADA rate increases of almost 30 per cent starting September 1.

WestJet is increasing the surcharge it charges for air traffic control services between $4 and $7 per guest depending on flight duration. NAV CANADA is Canada’s air traffic control operator, responsible for Canada’s civil air navigation system. WestJet is investigating an appeal of the rate increase and will remove the additional surcharge if the appeal is successful.

“We are deeply concerned the NAV CANADA rate increase will lead to a further reduction in the number of travellers,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “We are sympathetic to their situation, like ours, where a lack of sector-specific federal support has hindered their ability to recover. Burdening travellers who have been severely impacted by this pandemic with incremental costs will only serve to undermine Canada’s economic recovery.”

Effective today, NAV CANADA rates will increase by an average of 29.5 percent. Due to the increase, WestJet will increase the surcharge on all domestic tickets from September 5, 2020 onward to partially recover the airline’s costs. The estimated NAV CANADA rate increase will range from $6 to $9 per guest paid by the airline, while WestJet’s surcharge increase will range from $4 to $7 per guest.

“Countries around the world have taken action to limit or defer costs to the aviation industry, yet our situation remains exacerbated by double-digit increases that are beyond our control. Some airports have indicated they are increasing their Airport Improvement Fees (AIF) by as much as 52 per cent which doesn’t help this challenging situation.”

Air travel is critical to the Canadian economy, supporting 633,000 direct and indirect jobs and contributing $64 billion to the Canadian GDP.