WestJet CEO blasts feds for continued mask and vax mandates for travellers

WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech

Following the vote in the House of Commons that defeated a motion to end COVID-19 restrictions for travellers, WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech  voiced his disapproval publicly.  

The motion tabled by Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman to end COVID-19 restrictions for travellers was defeated — 202 votes against from the Liberals, NDP, Bloc Québécois and Greens, and 117 votes in favour by the Conservatives. 

The WestJet Group openly expressed strong opposition to travel advisories announced in December, slammed "incoherent and inconsistent government policy" in January, and called for an end to COVID-19 testing at airports in February. 

Now, von Hoensbroech is calling for the Trudeau government to drop all travel restrictions for both travellers and employees and has also alluded to maskless flying, according to Free to Fly — a group of nearly 50,000 airline professionals and passengers opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine mandates

"CEO of @WestJet pointing out where Cdn air travel should be headed. This guy's on a roll," said the tweet from Free to Fly and included a link to Hoensbroech's post from Monday showing the airline's CEO maskless as he travels through Europe.

"Travelling in #Europe today: No masks required on airplanes," he tweeted. 

He also published a tweet on Tuesday calling for the "Vaccine mandate for air travellers and employees" to be dropped. 

"As vaccines are not preventing the (spread) of the virus since #omicron, there is no more logic to maintain it," tweeted von Hoensbroech, suggesting it would "relax some of the operational challenges at the airports" if the mandates are removed. 

"This is a great start!" said Free to Fly in a statement.

As next steps, the advocacy group instructed people to call or email von Hoensbroech to commend his action. 

"Call, email and speak on social media, asking other airline CEOs (i.e., Air Canada, Air Transat, Sunwing, etc.) to speak up as well," said the statement. 

"A group statement from all Canadian airlines would be powerful and garner significant attention."  

Last week, a lawsuit was filed against Atlas Air and will eventually be expanded to include all other US-based airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation over the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policies. 

John Pierce Law is representing more than 100 plaintiffs — mostly unvaccinated pilots, flight attendants and other staff — from the US Freedom Flyers (USFF) and Atlas Air, claiming the vaccine mandates infringe on their constitutional, religious, and medical liberties.

The Global Aviation Advocacy Coalition also released an open statement on May 18 calling on airline regulators to publicly address the growing number of commercial pilots who are vaccine injured. 

Calling it a "crisis in pilot health," signatories from Canadian, UK, US, Australia, France, Netherlands, Switzerland and international aviation, medical, scientific and ethics bodies said they are working to bring awareness to vaccine injured commercial pilots.

Reporter (Alberta)

Melanie Risdon is an Alberta Reporter for the Western Standard and Alberta Report based in the Calgary Headquarters. She has over 20 years’ experience in media at Global News, Rogers and Corus.

Recommended for you

(7) comments


Hello naysayers, West Jet, being federally regulated, MUST abide to federal regulations. Refusing to, would result in loosing their licenses to operate.


The bloody coward should have talken a stand against these mandates from day one.

I hope Westjet goes belly up ,...The friggin traitors

Burnt Wood

Air Canada is a crown corporation so don’t expect that outfit to be anymore consumer oriented than CBC. Can’t endanger the taxpayer funding, so common sense is expendable

Mars Hill

Is this the same westjet the kick a couple off a plane because their three year old would wear a mask. This sack of $hit airline can ki$$ my a$$, will never use them again unless no other option.


Is this the same WestJet that was firing people who refused to take the vaccine?


Everyone wonders what is up with Canada. The governments of North America are becoming more misdirected and strange by the week.


WELL SAID! Expresses my sentiments to the tee! The other useless CEOs of the airline hopefully are long gone, hardly a whisper from any of them during their tenures!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.