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WestJet announces new Chief Operating Officer Diederik Pen and appoints new Chief Safety, Health and Environment Officer Robert Antoniuk

CALGARY, AB, July 6, 2021 /CNW/ - WestJet today announced the appointment of a new Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Diederik Pen, who will join the airline's executive leadership team in the early fall, following the completion of the immigration process. At that time, acting interim COO, Robert Antoniuk will take on a new role as Chief Safety, Health and Environment Officer.

Mr. Pen has more than 25 years of aviation-industry experience in the Asia-Pacific and European regions, and joins WestJet most recently from Wizz Air, a fast-growing, ultra-low- cost business, where he was chief operations officer.

"Diederik has an established track record of leading safe, efficient and cost-effective operations through periods of growth, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the WestJet family," said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. "Diederik's breadth of experience spans line management, commercial, operational and leadership roles in airports, for flag carriers and low-cost airlines, and we look forward to his expertise as we enter recovery and build for the future."

"What most appealed to me about WestJet was a combination of the culture, ambition and vision for the airline, there is an obvious high level of care and respect for doing things the right way for both the people who operate the airline and the guests," said Mr. Pen. "WestJet is in an exciting position to successfully compete in the rebuild of the aviation industry, and I look forward to being a part of that story."  

Robert Antoniuk joined WestJet in April 2018 and took on the interim COO role in February 2021, as the airline conducted a global search for a permanent placement. Mr. Antoniuk has demonstrated exemplary leadership, including a successful airports transformation initiative, and maintaining WestJet's leading on-time performance among major North American carriers, as well as globally, in recent months. As Chief Safety, Health and Environment Officer, Mr. Antoniuk will continue to shape WestJet's industry-leading safety culture.

"Robert's leadership has been tremendous throughout the entire pandemic, as he led major transformational work for our airports structure, before stepping in to lead operations at a critical time," said Sims. "WestJet has always held safety above all and maintained leading safety performance. The pandemic has stretched our views to bring the same rigor to hygiene, physical and mental wellbeing and other such areas of health and environment that extend to our people and our guests; Robert's proven leadership capabilities will be an asset to this important work."

About WestJet 

In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline's Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

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Recent recognition includes: 

2020/2019 Number-One Ranked Canadian Airline Loyalty Program in Member Engagement (Bond Brand Loyalty)

2019/2018/2017 Best Airline in Canada (TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice awards for Airlines) 

2019 Winner Among Mid-Sized Airlines in North America (TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice awards for Airlines) 

2019/2018 Number-One-Ranked Airline Credit Card in Canada (Rewards Canada) 

SOURCE WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership

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