Calm Air

Calm Air Pilots
F/O Jeremy Maley (Calm Air) stands next to a Calm Air ATR 42 on a cold Canadian winter day.

It didn’t take long in 2018 for the Calm Air pilots’ Master Executive Council (MEC) and Negotiating Committee to come to terms with management on a strong collective agreement for the pilot group. However, after an amicable negotiation, the real work began in 2019 to fully implement the newly negotiated collective agreement.

To do so, some internal housekeeping was required—in the form of elections for the two-year MEC positions. Capt. Trevor Wilcox, secretary-treasurer; Capt. Jeff Jacobs, vice chair; and Capt. Brendan Potter, chair, ran unopposed and were reelected, creating continuity within the MEC and allowing it to carry on its business of proudly representing the pilot group’s best interests.

“With an increasing number of new pilots in our ranks, it’s important for us to have continuity within the MEC so that we can do our work to the best of our abilities,” said Potter. “Thanks to the valuable ALPA resources and guidance we’ve received, we have the skill set and tools in place that allow us to do the best job possible for our pilot group.”

As the pilot group continues to grow at a steady pace, so, too, does the number of qualified volunteers at both the Thompson and Winnipeg, Man., Local Executive Councils and within the committee ranks—including Scheduling, Meals and Accommodation, Air Safety, and Jumpseat.

While major gains in the 2018 contract included an increase in the accumulation of sick time, pension changes, updates to the vacation bidding systems, and consumer price index protections, it was Calm Air’s flight data monitoring (FDM) program that garnered significant attention from the pilot group throughout the summer.

The FDM program, a Calm Air safety initiative, was designed to be a proactive, nonpunitive system that uses flight data to identify and address operational risks before they lead to incidents and accidents. The program launched in early summer with data being collected from Calm Air aircraft. An FDM team was also formed and included employees from the Maintenance Department along with the vice president of flight operations, who’s in charge of data analysis; the assistant chief pilot from flight operations, the program’s gatekeeper; and the MEC chair.

All data provided to the Calm Air FDM team is deidentified for the purpose of anonymity. To ensure the program’s success, the company and the team are taking further steps that include the FDM gatekeeper working with other gatekeepers from similar-sized ALPA pilot groups.

However, it wasn’t just internal matters that the pilots and MEC were focused on. Members were also closely following the representation election between ALPA and Unifor for Bearskin and Perimeter, two other carriers of parent company Exchange Income Corporation (EIC). Calm Air pilot leaders attended informational meetings alongside ALPA’s three Canada Board officers, representatives from ALPA national, and other EIC carrier pilot groups, including the Wasaya MEC. These meetings gave Perimeter pilots the opportunity to ask numerous questions. During the recruitment campaign to bring Perimeter into ALPA, Calm Air pilots did their best to answer any questions Perimeter pilots had regarding ALPA representation.

“ALPA winning the representation election was great news for us as ALPA pilots,” said Potter. “With Calm Air, Perimeter/Bearskin, Provincial/Air Borealis, and Wasaya, ALPA now represents approximately 400 EIC pilots.”

Heading into 2020, EIC ALPA pilots will continue to communicate and work together on a number of important issues for the pilot groups.