WestJet says extreme cold causing ‘significant’ operational impacts across Prairies

WestJet says it is facing “significant operational impacts” due to the extremely cold weather in the Prairies and parts of B.C.

Saturday morning, temperatures rendered de-icing fluid ineffective in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Kelowna, Kamloops, Fort McMurray, Prince George, Grande Prairie, Yellowknife and Fort St. John, the airline said in a statement posted to its website.

Frigid temperatures have also left essential equipment, such as bridges and fuel stations, inoperable. 

The airline says these effects are compounded by safety concerns for their crews and ground partners. To ensure their safety, WestJet says they have limited the amount of time employees and contractors can work outside.

When asked how their operations have been affected by the frigid temperatures, Air Canada told CBC News that, to deal with the impacts of the weather, they have put a flexible rebooking policy in place so customers can change travel plans without paying additional fees.

WestJet also announced flexible flight change and cancellation guidelines for guests travelling to or from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. 

The Calgary Airport Authority is advising passengers to check the status of their flights before leaving for the airport and to give themselves extra time to adjust to changing circumstances and delays on the roads and at the airport.

“Working in extreme weather conditions poses its own challenges. Prolonged extreme weather events locally and around the country can result in delays,” an authority spokesperson wrote in an email to CBC News.

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