Kelowna Flightcraft will not only rebound from the blow of losing a massive contract, but could come back stronger than ever, according to company executives.
"It is by no means the end of Kelowna Flightcraft," said president Tracy Medve in reacting to news Canada Post and its Purolator Courier subsidiary will stop using Flightcraft as its air cargo carrier on March 31, 2015.
"Since 1977, we have been a key supplier of dedicated and reliable air services for Purolator and, more
recently, Canada Post. Their decision is disappointing, particularly in light of the 99 per cent reliability we currently provide."
Flightcraft is a large, diversified business based at Kelowna Airport that has 600 employees locally, 200 in Hamilton, 100 in Manitoba and 100 scattered across the country.
About 115 pilots and 150 maintenance and support personnel work on the 18 jets used to fulfil the Purolator-Canada Post contract of flying packages and mail overnight from city to city.
Only seven pilots and 15 support workers based in Kelowna work on the Purolator-Canada Post contract.
Flightcraft has 735 other pilots and workers that run charters, maintain and retrofit planes for a myriad of clients from WestJet and Canadian North airlines to the Canadian military, plus and military and airline clients internationally.
"Our diverse and financially strong company has been around for nearly 44 years," said Medve.
"We have many great customers and contracts and we have considerable opportunity for the future."
Flightcraft's human resources director Grant Stevens said the company's goal is to keep all of the pilots and workers involved with the Purolator-Canada Post contract in jobs.
"We have our work cut out for us because that fleet is exclusive to Purolator and Canada Post," he said.
"But fortunately, we have over 13 months to find new customers and keep everyone."
Stevens said it doesn't necessarily have to be a courier or package contract.
"There's lots of cargo work out there," he said.
"It could be hauling for mines and oil and gas operations up north. As the economy grows, so do the opportunities.
"The sky is not falling, to use an aviation analogy," he said.
"We have diversity and great people and will find new opportunities."
Toronto-based publicly-traded Cargojet won the Purolator-Canada Post contract starting April 1, 2015.
Cargojet estimated the seven-year contract is worth $1 billion in revenues to the company.
Cargojet has 150 employees in Hamilton, but expects to hire more when the new contract starts.
Company stock jumped 26 per cent on the news.
While Canada Post mail volumes are down, flying overnight packages is a growing business with parcels from online shopping needing to be delivered.