K and K Expediting is packing it in after 23 years in the airline logistics business in Fort Simpson.
As one of the few aviation logistics companies in the Dehcho town, K and K was since 1997 the local agent for First Air, and then for Canadian North when the airlines merged in 2019. It worked as an agent and contractor for other companies in that time as well.
“The last flight we serviced was on Oct. 30,” said owner Tim McClelland. “It was a Canadian North flight from Fort Simpson to Yellowknife.”
K and K provided basically all the needed services for Canadian North except aircraft mechanics because the planes didn't stay in Fort Simpson.
“We had an office for everything that relates to that airline. We provided the management and skills necessary for the aircraft, loading and unloading, dealing with passengers, delayed flights and lost baggage.”
McClelland had already decided to shut down the business before the Covid pandemic arrived, as he was juggling the expediting company with the similarly named K and K Truck Rentals in Whitehorse, where he moved several years ago.
Still, the pandemic was the biggest financial hit K and K took in its tenure, and took away two-thirds of its business.
“I think in the summertime, with no tourism everybody was pretty hard hit,” McClelland said. “We had six flights per week for 22-and-a-half years and then we dropped down to almost none.”
But he's glad that his four employees were able to get hired by Canadian North, calling it a “huge blessing in disguise” for his crew.
Looking back on his 23 years of working in Fort Simpson, McClelland said it was an honour to serve the community and help them get around in the air.
“(It's) full of awesome, beautiful people. I've gotten to know quite a few people (there). We were agents for Buffalo Air Express, we were a Canada Post contractor. We delivered things to people and helped people move around. We used to do medical travel. I was lucky enough to have good people working for me.”