WestJet planes at YLW. (Capital News file photo)

WestJet planes at YLW. (Capital News file photo)

Status quo for WestJet at Kelowna International Airport despite airline’s cutbacks

Airport roles will be contracted out but WestJet didn’t say how many Kelowna employees will be let go

Changes are coming to WestJet but the airline’s services at Kelowna International Airport (YLW) will remain unchanged, according to senior manager of airport operations Philip Elchitz.

In June, the airline announced “organizational changes” to help it offer streamlined services and keep it moving forward following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Throughout the course of the biggest crisis in the history of aviation, WestJet has made many difficult, but essential, decisions to future-proof our business,” WestJet’s president and CEO Ed Sims said in the June announcement.

The airline said 3,333 of its employees across the country will be affected by the changes.

Elchitz said the changes don’t mean fewer flights into and out of the Okanagan region from YLW, and terminal services at WestJet kiosks won’t be changing either.

“We’re not expecting any cutbacks to WestJet’s current service as a result of the transition to the Airport Terminal Services contract,” he said.

“We’re expecting to see the same level of air service for the balance of the winter and into the spring.”

Elchitz didn’t specify what that would mean for WestJet employees who work at the airline’s kiosks at YLW, but he did say the role will be filled by airport terminal services staff.

WestJet did not comment on how many of their employees based at YLW will be let go as a result of the changes.

“The COVID-19 crisis hit WestJet and the global aviation industry with devastating force,” the airline’s communications staff said.

“Since the beginning of March, guest traffic has dropped significantly. We are operating at approximately 75% reduction year over year.”

WestJet said it will seek out preferential employment opportunities for as many of its airport roles as possible.

READ MORE: Quiet holiday season at Kelowna International Airport

READ MORE: Public hearing for controversial Kelowna Costco relocation goes digital


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

AirportCity of KelownaWestJet

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Summerland’s municipal council will proceed with a four per cent property tax increase this year, but the deadlines for property tax payment have been extended. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland councillor’s letter to media draws disappointment from colleagues

Statements about solar project did not violate ethical or conduct standards

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Options available for medical care

Telephone and online methods allow people to contact doctors

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow is closing its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
Petition to save South Okanagan’s only midwife clinic nears 3,000 signatures

After 12 years, Willow Community Midwives has to close its doors due to a shortage of midwives

Calls for potential overdoses in B.C. spiked in 2020, especially in the Okanagan - Shuswap. Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. (BCHES photo)
UBCO program increases drug checking availability in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon

January 2021 data shows of 95 opioid samples tested across Interior Health, 93 contained fentanyl

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Feb. 23, 2021
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here are the stories that made waves in the Okanagan-Shuswap

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Arrow Lakes Caribou Society said the new caribou pen near the Nakusp Hotsprings is close to completion. (Submitted)
Maternity caribou pen near Nakusp inches closer to fruition

While Nakusp recently approved the project’s lease, caribou captures are delayed due to COVID-19

BC Housing has proposed that the emergency winter shelter at Victory Church at 352 Winnipeg Street be extended as a shelter until March 31, 2022. It was originally intended to be open until April 1, 2021. (Jesse Day - Western News)
One more year of ‘temporary’ homeless shelter in Penticton?

BC Housing has applied to extend Victory Church as a shelter for those experiencing homelessness

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

Most Read