CTV.ca News Staff
May. 29 2006
WestJet Airlines says it's sorry that members of its management team
covertly accessed a confidential Air Canada website, and has agreed
pay $15.5 million.
In a joint news release from the two carriers, WestJet said that in
2003-2004, members of their management team "engaged in an extensive
practice of covertly accessing a password protected proprietary
employee website maintained by Air Canada to download detailed and
commercially sensitive information without authorization or consent
from Air Canada."
"This practice was undertaken with the knowledge and direction of the
highest management levels of WestJet and was not halted until
discovered by Air Canada," said the news release.
The Calgary-based airline has agreed to pay $5.5 million to cover Air
Canada's investigation and litigation costs resulting from the
dispute. It will also make a $10-million donation to children's
charity, at the request of Air Canada.
"This conduct was both unethical and unacceptable and WestJet accepts
full responsibility for such misconduct. WestJet sincerely regrets
having engaged in this practice and unreservedly apologizes to Air
Canada and Mr. Robert Milton."
In 2004, Air Canada filed a $220-million lawsuit against WestJet,
alleging that company employees used a confidential website to access
private information about Air Canada's passenger traffic.
Air Canada claimed WestJet used the still active password of a former
employee who had access to the site, and that the information was used
by WestJet to plan the airline's flight schedule and expansion.
WestJet countersued, accusing Air Canada of hiring private
investigators to sift through "recycling material" at the home of a
WestJet executive. It says the airline then hired a U.S. firm to put
the shredded documents back together.
At the time, WestJet also said it didn't believe the Air Canada
website contained confidential information, and said it could have
gleaned the info by counting passengers at airports.
Mark Hill, a WestJet vice-president and co-founder, was among those
named in the Air Canada lawsuit. He resigned in July of 2004 amid the
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