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Jazz Centralizing Hubs, Recalling Pilots


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Saturday, November 27, 2004Halifax staff do Jazz shuffle

By Stephen Bornais & CP

ALL THAT JAZZ: A company spokeswoman says Jazz’s personnel shift will affect local staff, but there’s no word on how many staff may move. (FILE PHOTO)

Air Canada Jazz is moving some of its Halifax-based pilots and flight attendants out of the city as part of a national consolidation of the airline’s crew bases. Jazz, which has its corporate headquarters in Halifax, is centralizing its flight bases at four locations across the country, meaning 431 workers will have to relocate or commute to their jobs. Workers in Halifax, Quebec, London and Victoria will work from Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Quebec, London and Victoria will then be closed. Air Canada Jazz spokeswoman Debra Williams said yesterday Halifax will remain open “although there will be some reductions in staffing required there.” Williams wouldn’t say how many people will be affected in Halifax. Jazz has 200 pilot “positions” and more than 60 flight attendants based in Halifax. “We’re not really giving a breakdown ... because we don’t have a definitive date yet for the completion of the transfer,” she said. “There’s a lot to be worked out between now and then in terms of what employee decisions will be in terms of transferring, commuting, moving and all of that.” Williams said the employees may move or commute, which can be done more easily than in other jobs because they can use the airplanes for transportation. “There are no job reductions as a result of the crew base transfers, it’s simply putting the human resources where our significant flight bases are,” Williams said. Jazz has 775 employees in the Halifax corporate office, but Williams said they are not affected by the crew moves. Earlier this summer, there were rumours Jazz intended to close the Halifax office, which the company emphatically denied at the time. Williams said yesterday’s news, which was leaked to the media from an internal company memo, does not contradict that position. “We have no plans to move Halifax head office,” Williams said from London, Ont. Jazz intents to hire back all 140 of its furloughed pilots by the end of next year and to increase the number of flight attendants it employs by 25 per cent or about 130 workers. Williams also pointed out that since the company announced in September, as Air Canada emerged from bankruptcy protection, that it is adding new aircraft to its fleet, it is also beefing up its staffing levels. “We currently have approximately 140 pilots on furlough, so we will look to recall all of those by the end of next year,” Williams said, adding that Jazz had more than 1,000 pilots at the end of October. As well, it will be increasing its flight attendant staff by about 25 per cent from the 550 who are currently employed. Jazz, which flies regionally in Canada and to some U.S. destinations, has 90 planes that seat between 37 and 50 passengers. A call to the union representative for the Jazz pilots at the Air Line Pilots Association was not returned.

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