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 organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

(BC Conservation Service)
Hunter charged, fined for poaching immature moose in West Kelowna

Richard Fischer pled guilty to two charges under the BC Wildlife Act

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Most Read