Following permanent layoffs of more than 3,000 employees announced last summer by WestJet Airlines, a Scottish-based aviation company will now assist in contracting passenger service agents for the airline out of the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ).
Menzies Aviation from Edinburgh Park, Scotland, operates in 34 countries across the world and specializes in ground services, cargo, fuelling, executive and offline services, with a Richmond-based office within the province.
It is currently hiring and training staff to assist the airline at YQQ. In a release, the company said it is offering guest services at five stations in B.C.: Comox, Nanaimo, Victoria, Abbotsford and Kamloops.
In Jun 2020, WestJet CEO Ed Sims announced major layoffs within the company due to the pandemic. He added all airport operations will be contracted out at all Canadian airports except for Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto.
At the time, WestJet noted it will seek out preferential employment opportunities for as many of the airport roles as possible.
In January, the airline announced an additional 1,000 employees will be furloughed, temporarily laid off, put on unpaid leave or have their hours cut, will cut about 30 per cent of its capacity in March and pull 160 domestic departures from its schedule.
In February, it announced the suspension of operations to four domestic airports – St. John’s, N.L., London, Ont., Lloydminster and Medicine Hat, Alta. from March 19 to June 24.
“We have continued to operate in the face of uncertainty as domestic and international travel restrictions and quarantines have caused demand to plummet,” said Sims in a release.
WestJet continues to operate at more than a 90 per cent reduction year over year. In Comox, its schedule has been reduced most days to two flights a day to Calgary and one or two flights into Comox.