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

The regional district’s Penticton offices. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Building and bylaw service up in 2020 for RDOS

More complaints were resolved and building permits issued in 2020 than 2019

Penticton city council heard from Dhorea Ramanula, of Paid Employment for People with Lived Experiences Tuesday, Jan. 19. Ramanula’s organization has operated public washrooms in Kelowna staffed by community support workers since April, she says Penticton could benefit from a similar facility. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Penticton interested in new public washroom concept to combat vandalism

Public washrooms with on-site support staff have been operating in Kelowna since April

Aidan & Mandy will play a live-streamed show at the Venables Theatre, Saturday, Jan. 23. (Contributed photo)
Penticton’s own Aidan & Mandy in concert Saturday, Jan. 23

The live show will be streamed from Venables Theatre in Oliver

The BC SPCA is adapting its fundraising after cancelling events due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
BC SPCA gets creative with fundraising as pandemic continues

The non-profit’s in-person fundraising events all had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to a single-vehicle rollover Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, after a vehicle came into contact with a pedestrian light pole at Kalamalka Lake Road and 14th Avenue. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Minor injuries in rollover after vehicle hits Vernon crosswalk pole

The vehicle flipped onto its side, closing Kalamalka Lake Road

Esa Carriere, 23, was the victim of a 2018 Canada Day homicide. (File)
Youth sentenced in Kelowna Canada Day killing

Young woman pleaded guilty to lesser assault charge, sentenced to 15-month intensive support and supervision program

A rendering of UBC’s planned downtown Kelowna campus. (Contributed)
Kelowna’s new downtown campus to help alleviate UBCO’s space crunch

The sizable development is anticipated to be completed by the fall 2024 semester

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

A petition to spare the Mount Rose Swanson area from logging later this year has eclipsed 21,000 signatures as of Jan. 20, 2021. (Rose Swanson Mountain/Facebook)
Controversial logging will cut 4% of ‘sensitive’ Armstrong forest area: Ministry

A petition to spare the Rose Swanson area from logging has eclipsed 21,000 signatures

Most Read