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Coronavirus: KF Aerospace in Kelowna forced to downsize due to COVID-19

Global News files

Canada’s largest commercial aviation maintenance, repair, and overhaul provider, KF Aerospace, has been forced to reduce staff in response to the industry impacts of COVID-19.

The Kelowna-based company made the announcement on Friday.

Read more: Canadian airlines cancel hundreds of flights as hopes fade for spike in demand

KF Aerospace has been in operation in the Okanagan for 50 years.

“When our airline customers were grounded in mid-March, we were immediately impacted, losing nearly 50 per cent of our scheduled work as these airlines grounded their planes and cancelled maintenance,” said KF Aerospace president Tracy Medve.

KF managed to avoid layoffs for more than six months, but due to the poor long-term outlook in aviation, the company finally took action.

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Through a combination of voluntary long-term leaves, resignations, retirements and layoffs, staff was reduced by about 14 per cent, or 150 people.

Read more: WestJet cuts ‘just the leading edge’ if feds don’t provide aid to airlines: experts

The company credited the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) with being instrumental in supporting the company to keep much of its staff through the pandemic so far.

It also is calling on the federal government to create an aviation sector strategy to help the industry rebound from the impacts of the pandemic.

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Coronavirus: Kelowna’s Bernard Avenue closure coming to an end