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WestJet Encore pilots set to hold information picket at Calgary International Airport

WestJet Encore pilots are set hold an information picket at Calgary International Airport on Friday afternoon, seeking improved working conditions and wages, along with career progression in the company.

The information picket is set for 12:15 p.m. outside the international terminal.

John Gradek, an aviation professor at McGill University, says the information picket comes as the division deals with a shortage of pilots.

“WestJet Encore operates 47 turboprop airplanes, they’ve got 322 pilots,” said Gradek.

“That’s a little low in terms of the number of pilots they would need to fly those planes.”

Encore pilots are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International looks after 77,000 pilots in U.S. and Canada.

“They have a point that they overworked, that there schedules are more demanding than they would normally be for a WestJet pilot,” said Gradek.

According to Gradek, WestJet pilots got a new contract last year.

“The gap between WestJet pilots and encore pilots grew significantly,” he said.

Ahead of the of the picket, Capt. Carin Kenny, WestJet Encore’s master executive council (MEC) chair proved this statement.

“When most pilots started working at WestJet Encore, they believed working for our airline was a step towards a long career within the WestJet family. Now we are nothing more than a training ground for pilots looking to leave for better opportunities.

“We are here to fight for a contract that will change that and make working within the WestJet Group a career goal.”

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