As ALPA’s newest pilot group, the pilots of Air Georgian Limited, an Air Canada Express carrier, are counting on making the most of the Association’s resources to propel them toward a new industry-competitive agreement. With more than 85 percent of eligible pilots participating in the representation election, 99 percent voted in favor of joining the world’s largest pilots’ union, sending a unified message that Air Georgian’s Toronto- and Calgary-based pilots recognize the importance of ALPA representation.
Capt. Robert McCallum (Air Georgian) will serve as chairman of the pilots’ Master Executive Council (MEC) for an interim period until the pilot group holds its first elections. “The pilots’ morale has already increased, and we’re excited for our new future,” said McCallum. “Of course, a big change like this is never easy, but this change will give the pilot group stability and the opportunity for an improved pilot-management relationship.”
The Canada Industrial Relations Board certified ALPA as the representative of Air Georgian pilots. Previously, an in-house union represented all Air Georgian’s bargaining unit employees, including pilots.
“Air Georgian had a few years of growth that led us to almost triple our pilot numbers,” said McCallum about the privately held carrier, which is headquartered in Mississauga, Ont. “However, our small in-house union wasn’t able to keep up with this growth, and a change was needed. The resources that ALPA provides are far superior to any other aviation union, and this was one of the biggest factors that led us to join ALPA.”
With ALPA’s unmatched resources and professional staff, McCallum said the pilots are gearing up to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement that includes industry-standard salaries as well as additional contract improvements. The Association is already preparing to represent the airline’s more than 230 pilots in negotiations set to begin later this year.
In operation for more than 25 years, Air Georgian flies more than 550,000 passengers annually to about two dozen U.S. and Canadian destinations. With hubs at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, Halifax’s Robert L. Stanfield International Airport, and Calgary’s International Airport, the carrier’s fleet includes 18 Bombardier CRJ100s, 14 Beechcraft B1900Ds, and 1 CE680 Cessna Citation Sovereign, flying for Air Canada Express and corporate charter service.