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More than 200 flights cancelled by WestJet outage; company says further delays 'will be required'

WestJet says more than 200 flights have been cancelled as a result of a system outage this weekend, and more delays and cancellations "will be required" in the coming days.

The outage was the result of "a cooling issue" in the airline's primary data centre, according to a message to passengers issued Sunday by Diederik Pen, WestJet's executive vice president and chief operating officer.

While Pen says the issue has been resolved, his statement also acknowledged that the company's technology systems are "still experiencing some instability."

"Unfortunately, due to the scope of yesterday’s network impact, we continue to see residual disruptions," Pen's statement reads.

"Further delays and cancellations in the coming days will be required, as we work diligently to recover our operations."


In an interview with CTV News Channel on Sunday, Pen elaborated on the cooling issue, saying the air conditioning system in the company's data centre shut down around noon Saturday and couldn't be restarted.

"As a result, our entire computer data centre overheated and shut down," Pen said. "It's the core of our system, and it, unfortunately, took nine hours for the system to be restarted."

Pen told CTV News Channel there had been 144 cancelled flights on Saturday and 100 on Sunday, a significant disruption that he said would continue to have ripple effects through the company's system this week.

Asked how many days he thought it would take for WestJet to get back to normal, Pen declined to offer a specific timeframe.

"I don't want to make any false promises," he said. "We believe it will take tomorrow and potentially the day after for everything to be back to normal and stable."

He said roughly 6,500 guests affected by the cancellations still need to be rebooked, and the airline is adding flights to its schedule wherever it can to accommodate them.


The airline said the outage affected its ability to share information with passengers.

Many customers took to social media to express their frustration, saying they had been waiting hours in check-in lines and had missed connections as a result.

They also criticized the airline for a lack of communication about what was going on, criticism Pen acknowledged in his statement and in his interview with CTV News.

"On behalf of the entire WestJet team, we sincerely apologize to all guests for this unforeseen disruption to their travel plans and the resulting impact on communications, affecting our ability to relay information," Pen said. "We deeply regret this weekend’s extraordinary events that prevented us from delivering the experience our guests deserve."

The airline says it's currently "experiencing very high volumes" on its phone, email and social media support channels, and asks guests to check the WestJet app or the company's website for up-to-date information on their flights.

"In an effort to assist guests with imminent travel plans, we are asking all other guests to refrain from contacting us until 72 hours in advance of their flight to ensure we are able to prioritize calls," Pen said.

"Re-accommodation options for all impacted guests will be communicated through email as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we are unable to assist guests who are coming to our airports for re-accommodations."

Pen said the airline is conducting "a full review" of the incident. Top Stories

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