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Sun, Aug 20, 2023

Small Canadian Airline Signs Tentative Agreement

Indigenous Carrier in the Far North Sees Quick Approval for Contract Deal

Wasaya Airways pilots ratified a new tentative agreement with company management, showing what may be shaping up as a trend in the airline industry as trickle-down negotiations come to the little guys.

Wasaya Airways operates out of Thunder Bay, Ontario, with a fleet of turboprop commuter aircraft. The 17-strong fleet includes the reliable Dash 8, the Pilatus PC-12, the Hawker 748, the Beech 1900D, and the ever-present Cessna C-208. The airline hauls vital supplies to more than 25 communities throughout Ontario, being largely created and conceived by the local First Nations groups as a way to provide air cargo and passenger services at home. Wasaya, after a series of corporate moves and name changes, has ultimately come to be owned entirely by indigenous Canadian bodies.

Throughout their contract negotiations, the pilot base has been represented by the ALPA. By most appearances, things have gone along smoothly, but the presence of the big hitter in the process just might point to a tidal shift in the industry for small commuter lines. Operators may look at all 17 of Wasaya’s aircraft and feel the temperature shift and know that they too will have to play ball if they want to retain their pilots. Wasaya pilots were quite eager for the changes, unsurprisingly, with 84% of the group turning out to vote 93% in favor of the new agreement. 

“Since our last contract four years ago, Wasaya pilots have demonstrated their unity and commitment to attaining a collective agreement that reflects the contributions we bring to the success of our airline and the communities we serve,” said Capt. James Harding, chair of ALPA’s Wasaya pilot group.

“As negotiations began in February 2023, Wasaya pilots have been determined to bring our wages in line with our industry peers and enhance our work rules significantly. This newly ratified agreement does just that and is a fair and equitable contract that works for pilots and assists our company with pilot retention,” added Harding.



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