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Canadian North

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Airline moving jobs south
Canadian North vacating Yellowknife office; approximately 20 positions moving to Edmonton, Calgary

Thandiwe Vela
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Northern airline Canadian North is vacating its downtown Yellowknife office.

NNSL photo/graphic

Canadian North is consolidating its operations, moving a number of employees from its Yellowknife office to Edmonton and Calgary. - NNSL file photo

Approximately 20 positions will be moved south by the end of August, when the lease on the NorTerra Inc. airline's Northwest Tower office expires.

"We've had excess capacity in both our Yellowknife and Edmonton offices for some time now. So with our lease expiring downtown at the end of the summer it was just a time to look at our efficiencies of our operations and to consider consolidating the offices," said spokesperson Lisa Hicks.

The majority of the positions moving to Canadian North's Edmonton and Calgary offices are from its accounting group.

Employees whose positions are affected have been given the offer to move south, but those who desire to stay in Yellowknife will lose their jobs. Those employees will be considered for the airline's operational positions based at the Yellowknife Airport, if there is an opening.

Sales, marketing and community support positions will remain in Yellowknife but Canadian North has not yet determined where these positions will be located.

Including the operational positions, which include airport maintenance, customer service agents, ramp and cargo employees, the airline will have more than 125 employees remaining in Yellowknife, Hicks said.

"I do want to emphasize that we're still very much focused on the North," Hicks said. "As a Northern airline we are very focused on continuing to offer the service that people have come to expect from us and that includes complimentary meals, complimentary seat selection and two free pieces of checked luggage, which is something that southern carriers don't offer.

"So in order to be able to continue to provide our seriously Northern service, we are always looking at our costs and this is one of the efficiencies."

Canadian North employees were notified about the move last Thursday.

Steve Hankirk, president of Canadian North, was scheduled to be in Yellowknife this week to meet with affected personnel.

Hankirk is based in Calgary, the airline's operational centre.

Last year, competitor First Air announced it was relocating its Yellowknife jet base to Edmonton. The consolidation of its operations came with layoffs, including five from flight crews operating jet aircraft and eight from its fleet of two Hercules airplanes.

Canadian North is owned by NorTerra Inc., which is 100 per cent Northern-owned, by the Inuvialuit Development Corporation and Nunasi Corporation.

First Air is wholly owned by Makivik Corporation, an economic arm of the Inuit of Quebec.

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