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WestJet cancels some 40 flights in anticipation of strike by mechanics

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The WestJet Group has cancelled about 40 flights in anticipation of a possible strike by its aircraft maintenance workers on Thursday.

The airline says about 6,500 travellers have been affected by the decision covering flights on Tuesday and Wednesday. WestJet says it started cancelling and consolidating its flights in order to park aircraft in a safe and organized manner.

Some 670 WestJet mechanics, represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, are poised to walk off the job as early as Thursday night after serving the airline with strike notice earlier this week.

The flight cancellations came as WestJet waits for a response to its request that the Canadian Industrial Relations Board intervene.

If accepted, the move would refer the dispute to arbitration and prevent labour action by both sides, the company says.

The union, whose members voted overwhelmingly to reject a tentative agreement last week, opposes the move.