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WestJet Encore pilots ratify deal, averting possibility of strike

Contract goes into effect immediately, with retroactive pay to Jan. 1
A WestJet logo is seen in the domestic check-in area at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on May 19, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

WestJet Encore pilots have given the green light to a deal with their employer, averting a strike at the regional airline.

The Air Line Pilots Association says its members have ratified a five-year contract that offers higher pay, more flexible schedules and “a better work-life balance.”

The union says about 79 per cent of the pilots who cast a ballot approved the collective agreement, with the vast majority of the carrier’s 350-plus pilots participating in the vote.

Carin Kenny, who heads the union’s WestJet Encore contingent, says the deal establishes “a level of career progression” toward flying bigger planes at the carrier’s mainline operation — crucial to attracting new pilots and retaining those already on board.

The contract goes into effect immediately, with retroactive pay to Jan. 1.

The vote this week cemented a tentative agreement reached on May 30, steering clear of the turbulence wrought by 11th-hour deals of the sort reached last year between WestJet and mainline pilots as well as aviators at its now-shuttered Swoop subsidiary.

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