Yellowknife, NWT (March 27, 2020) – Summit Air announced today that approximately 45 employees from its bases in Yellowknife, Edmonton, and Calgary will be temporarily leaving the organization as a result of COVID-19 and the subsequent economic slowdown. The airline had approximately 170 employees prior to this announcement.
“Today, approximately 45 employees will be leaving us on temporary involuntary leaves,” said Lane Zirnhelt, Chief Operating Officer, Summit Aviation Group. “This decision was very tough for our company as was delivering the news to our people, their families, and our community.
Today’s announcement relates to circumstances beyond our control and does not reflect the hard work and dedication the Summit Air team has consistently demonstrated, especially in recent weeks. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the temporary closure or reduced operation of many of our customers’ businesses and operations, resulting in significant reductions in Summit Air’s revenue and flying hours. To preserve our business for the future we made the difficult decision to cut operating costs in the short term.”
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Summit Air implemented immediate cost-cutting measures such as delaying capital projects, moving contractor or contracted work in-house, and has been working diligently with customers to find alternative solutions that work for them while also ensuring crews are able to operate in a safe environment.
“The layoffs are in all areas of the business including management, flight crews, mechanics, and administration”, Zirnhelt continued. “Although the circumstances of the pandemic are changing daily, we will continue to try and source more work and flight hours and will offer any additional work to laid-off crews and staff with the hope we can bring our valued staff back as early as possible. Some of our air charter work supports essential services such as the delivery of food and general goods. These flights will continue for the time being. We continue to monitor COVID-19 developments to ensure our people are able to operate in a safe environment.”
Zirnhelt added, “while today’s decision reflects current economic conditions the Summit Air business model remains strong. Unlike many aviation businesses, our work comes from businesses operating in the North as opposed to the general public. We hope to be fully operational again once our clients resume their work.”
Summit Helicopters operations are not impacted by this announcement. Summit Helicopters is a sister company to Summit Air and based in Kamloops, British Columbia.
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Senior Vice President, Operations