TORONTO, April 24, 2012 /CNW/ - A group of key employees enters contract negotiations with Jazz Aviation LP today that could affect the operations of Canada's largest regional airline.
Allan Shiell, chair of Local 2 of the Canadian Airline Dispatchers Association (CALDA), says his members are crucial to keeping Air Canada Express (formerly Air Canada Jazz) flying.
Chief issue in the negotiations is compensation, with Jazz dispatchers earning significantly less than many of their counterparts at other major Canadian airlines. Shiell says they deserve increases after previously accepting less to help the airline. All 66 Jazz dispatchers work in Halifax.
Airline dispatchers issue and monitor flight plans and authorize the release of aircraft to fly. They exercise operational control on a co-authority basis with the pilot, and have joint responsibility for the safe and efficient planning and monitoring of a flight. Should there be a disruption in service, licensing and training issues would prevent other dispatchers from stepping in as replacements.
"We have had a mutually-respectful relationship with management and we are confident that they will see our position as reasonable," said Shiell.
Jazz is one of the largest regional airlines in the world, operating nearly 800 flights a day to destinations throughout Canada and the US. The airline has more than 5,000 employees and carried 9.1 million passengers (about 30,000 per day) in 2011.
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