WestJet’s Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Diederik Pen, wrote a letter to customers over the weekend, stating that he is “extremely sorry” for the network outage that disrupted more than 400 flights last week.
Calling the incident a “technology failure,” Pen said the incident led to a “frustrating ripple effect” across WestJet’s operations.
In the days that followed, many flight cancellations were only further compounded by winter weather, he wrote.
“Our ability to respond and reaccommodate was not up to the WestJet standards we know you expect. We let many of you down, and I am extremely sorry,” wrote Pen on Saturday (Nov. 12).
Impacted passengers with any outstanding questions or concerns are being encouraged to visit this website here.
Pen noted that it is WestJet’s responsibility to “respect and honour” its passenger rights obligations, “which we will continue to do for disruptions that are within our control.”
Pen added that WestJet has never experienced a service failure of this magnitude and promised to take corrective measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
“I want to thank our 10,000 WestJetters across our network, who are committed to delivering the experience you've come to expect from us. We know how important your travel plans are, and we'll do everything we can to earn back your confidence,” Pen wrote.
WestJet’s network woes began on Nov. 5 due to a cooling issue in its primary data centre, the airline said last week.
WestJet said the issue was resolved within a day but warned of further delays and cancellations, which disrupting operations throughout the week.
In a statement last week, Pen conceded that WestJet's communication with travellers was lacking during the outage.
“We understand we let our guests down,” Pen wrote, noting the “very high” volumes for its phone, email and social media support channels and long lineups at airports.
The technical glitch came on the heels of a separate but similar incident at Sunwing, which grappled with flight disruptions earlier this month after its third-party software provider, a Boeing-owned company called Jeppesen, was hit by a cyberattack.