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Hiring fair just one of the ways Kelowna International Airport is trying to fill a staffing void

Airport ups hiring game

Cindy White

Now that the vaccine mandate has been suspended for federally regulated workers in the aviation industry, employers at Kelowna International Airport are hoping to find some new people with the right stuff.

YLW hosted a hiring fair Wednesday, in the ground-side White Spot, which hasn’t been able to open because it doesn’t have enough employees

“We really are in a situation now where we need employees in all areas of this sector,” said Phillip Elchitz, senior manager airport operations

A dozen employers took part in the hiring fair, including the airport itself, two airlines, food services companies, and contractors responsible for ground support services

Executive Aviation was there looking for 10-15 new employees for a variety of roles.

“We’re a company that does above the wing, which is customer service, checking guests in and boarding them on the plane. And then we also do ground handling, which is loading baggage, marshaling in and out aircraft. We also do cargo. We also do aircraft grooming as well,” explained Braydon Wilkinson, who has worked for EA for seven years.

Michael stopped by the booth, and a couple of others. He’s looking for a ground-handling position.

“So anything physical on aircraft, driving cool vehicles, fuelling even. That’s something I’m interested in, moving up into the aviation world. I think it would be a good start,” he said.

Elchitz acknowledges the airport needs to up its game to attract and keep workers.

“There’s transportation issues, and there’s childcare issues and we believe we’re working towards solving both of those.”

He said YLW is working with BC Transit to expand the bus schedule to ensure people can arrive earlier and get to the airport on weekends.

As well, ground will be broken this year on a new 86 space child care facility, being built in partnership with YMCA Okanagan, KF Aerospace and the provincial government. It’s expected to open in the spring of 2023.

It’s not just employers looking to fill vacant positions at the airport. The YLW Ambassadors program, which has been in place since 1999, is hoping to find 45 more volunteers to perform a range of services from assisting people with disabilities to providing information on the community.



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