Kelowna Flightcraft

Kelowna Pilots
A KF Aeroflyer B-737-600 departs Calgary International Airport. Photo: Shae Bilan

At A Glance

Pilots joined ALPA: 1997

Number of pilots/flightcrew members: 28

Pilot bases: Vancouver and Kelowna, B.C., and Calgary, Alb.

Hubs/key markets: The domestic cargo network and North American passenger charters

Headquarters: Kelowna, B.C.

Operations: KF Cargo provides a British Columbia air cargo feeder network for its primary customer, Purolator Canada. KF Aeroflyer, a division of KF Aerospace, operates sports team; workforce; and aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance charters.

Fleet: 2 B-737-600s, 3 Convair 580s, and 1 Convair 5800

After more than doubling their pilot ranks from 12 to 28 the previous year, Kelowna Flightcraft pilots looked to 2023 with optimism for company growth. Unfortunately, with growth comes growing pains.

Those growing pains came in the form of convincing the company to improve working conditions and compensation with the goal of increasing pilot retention and attraction, considering the increasingly competitive labour market and heightened cost of living.

With assistance from ALPA’s Economic & Financial Analysis Department, the pilot group provided management a clear and comprehensive picture of how their total compensation package compares to other similar operators and stressed the need for improved wages to attract and retain B-737-600 captains. Recognizing they were halfway through the term of their current collective agreement, their bargaining power was limited. However, the pilots stood firm on two principles: (1) No concessions for gains elsewhere, and (2) A net gain for all members, not just a few.

Following a strong pilot turnout with 94 percent voting in favour, a negotiated memorandum of understanding was passed resulting in wage improvements. The vote was a demonstration of the pilots’ strength, unity, and commitment to each other’s success across their different bases, aircraft, and operations, noting they all fly as “Flightcraft.”

A KF Cargo Convair 5800 starts its engines at Victoria International Airport. Photo: Aaron Burton