Airline merger may lead to layoffs


Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT – The merger of NWT Air’s operations with First Air could result in some layoffs, the president of Canada’s third largest airline said this week.

Bob Davis, president of First Air, estimated that once restructuring of the airline is complete, the merger would result in the elimination of about 20 positions.

“We hope to end up with a single facility in Yellowknife,” Davis said. “We also anticipate that if there is some labor reduction, most of it will be taken care of through routine attrition.”

Airline employees are represented by several different unions.

First Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Makivik Corporation, acquired NWT Air last summer. The merger is scheduled to go into effect March 1, 1998.

Davis said it’s too early yet to say whether the reduction in jobs will come from NWT Air or First Air.

First Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Makivik Corporation, will continue to use NWT Air’s brand name for at least for another year, Davis added.

As for the aircraft’s colors, First Air has no immediate plans for a makeover.

“NWT Air has a long history in the North and a very good operating reputation, and just because of its history and its reputation we may elect to continue to use it or we may not. We haven’t really decided on that at this point.”

NWT Air operates two Boeing 737s and a Lockheed Hercules transport plane.

No further expansion of the airline’s overall operations is expcted as a result of the merger.

The merger is not the subject of a review by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), which has no jurisciction over proposed mergers and acquisitions of Canadian air carriers.

First Air currently has a workforce of roughly 650 employees. NWT Air has 180 employees.

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