A Kelowna Flightcraft Convair 5800 in British Columbia.
Heading into 2022, the pilots of Kelowna Flightcraft had secured a new tentative agreement that reflected their hard work and professionalism. With 92 percent of the eligible pilots participating in the voting process, approximately 73 percent voted in favour of ratifying the collective agreement.
The agreement provided the pilot group with a number of enhancements, including increased wages, improved scheduling rules, vacation bidding, and better allowances for items such as uniforms. New pay scales were instituted, with most pilots’ wages increasing by 21 percent. Management agreed that senior captains who had taken the brunt of earlier concessions should be a key focus.
During contract negotiations, management shared expansion plans that included passenger charters using recently purchased B-737NGs. This was well received by the pilots and reflected prior Kelowna Flightcraft operations that included a fleet of B-727s, B-737s, and DC-10s. The small group of pilots flying Convair 580s for the Purolator BC Feeder Network would soon have the opportunity to advance their careers on different aircraft and routes.
As winter turned to spring and having moved from negotiating a new contract to implementing it, the pilot group was notified that the carrier had acquired a new flying contract, initially using two B-737-600s with one based in Kelowna, B.C., and another in Calgary, Alb. While management hadn’t announced the details of the new flying opportunity, it was now focusing on expanding operations, including hiring and training additional pilots, flight attendants, and other flight operations personnel.
The pilot group remained optimistic, and in June, KF Aeroflyer, a division of KF Aerospace, was added to the company’s operations. Providing passenger air charter services dedicated to safety, on-time performance, reliability, and comfort, KF Aeroflyer operates sports team; workforce; and aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance charters. The launch of this division more than doubled the number of pilots from 12 to 25. The pilots are hopeful that Aeroflyer will grow beyond western Canada to span the entire country supporting national and international customers.
With major developments and growth under way, Capt. Graham Cartwright, the pilots’ longtime Master Executive Council (MEC) chair, announced he’d be stepping down from his role. In August, Capt. Kesar Nizzar, then the vice chair, was elected MEC chair; Capt. Terry Chan was elected vice chair; and F/O Fraser Carpenter was reelected secretary-treasurer.
The pilot group’s committee structure also saw change when Capt. Don Urban announced that he’d be leaving the position of Jumpseat Committee chair after years of dedicated service to the pilot group. Taking over as committee chair was F/O Morgan Chaddock, who joined the committee earlier in the year in an effort to actively pursue new jumpseat agreements with other carriers and reaffirm relationships with existing partners.
“Our increasing membership and expanding operations present us with an opportunity to grow our ALPA committee structure,” observed Nizzar. “As a volunteer-driven organization, we depend on members volunteering to help in areas where they have interest or expertise. This enables us to provide additional resources for our members and engage in more constructive communications with the company—especially as we experience shared ‘growing pains.’”
In the coming year, the MEC will continue its efforts to build its volunteer ranks by seeking pilots interested in using their knowledge and experience to help others within the pilot group.