Timing not great for 125 layoff notices at Kelowna Flightcraft

Image Credit: flicker.com

KELOWNA – The director of human resources at Kelowna Flightcraft is the first to admit sending out 125 layoff notices to the company’s pilots just before Christmas and on the heels of an announcement about a valuable contract with WestJet is bad timing.

Grant Stevens says the letters went out this week because the Canada Labour Code requires the company give the federally regulated employees 16 weeks notice.

Flightcraft announced in February this year it had lost the over 3-decade-old deal to carry Purolator cargo product and mail for Canada Post. The contact ends in 16 weeks on March 31, 2015.

Most of the pilots work out of the company’s Hamilton facility. Only six fly out of the Kelowna Airport.

“So we’ve had say to the pilots, ‘Look. The timing is bad but we have to give you an official letter to cover off the 16-week notice requirement,’” Stevens says.

He thinks they will actually keep a half or two-thirds of the jobs by the time spring rolls around thanks to the work the company currently has, or will later pick up.

“We’re taking a look at some international and domestic work and we think there’s a real good potential there. So we’re working our way through the business plan and we expect to be in a position by February to make some announcements.”

Stevens won’t say what the work is about because he doesn’t want to tip off the competition.

He can say Flightcraft will have a dozen aircraft and 100 pilots at the end of March so work for them is what they are targeting.

The company will need to hire 30 aircraft maintenance engineers for the WestJet contract to upgrade the interiors of its jets announced earlier this week.

Flightcraft is a major local employer with about 600 of its 1,000 employees working in Kelowna.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Howard Alexander at halexander@infonews.ca or call 250-491-0331. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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