Regina Airport Authority president and CEO James Bogusz said he recently became aware that NAV Canada had issued layoff notices to more than 100 air controllers across the country, including 10 in the Queen City.
The Canadian Air Traffic Control Association (CATCA), the union that represents all air traffic controllers in the country, announced the news in a press release on Thursday.
Bogusz said NAV Canada told him in November 2020 that it would be reviewing the situation to determine if it would be keeping Regina’s air traffic control tower on site.
“Our airport just underwent its consultation less than two weeks ago,” Bogusz said.
“We are terribly disappointed that these notices have been issued to air traffic control towers when they’re still in their early stages of the review process.
“I’d go as far to say we feel that based on these notices being issued, the entire process is tainted.”
According to CATCA president and CEO Doug Best, a total of 110 controllers were issued layoff notices since last month.
“We understand that NAV Canada has seen a significant decline in revenue due to the pandemic and it needs to find efficiencies, but we can’t allow public safety to be compromised,” Best said.
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“Air traffic control is known to be one of the most demanding and high-stress professions going. NAV Canada’s cuts will only mount added pressure on the essential workers who keep our skies safe.”
Bogusz said he doesn’t know how many staff members will be laid off at the Regina airport but admits it was something he expected to see coming further down the road.
“We’ve been incredibly vocal on this since we heard about this service level review process going forward … but to be done so early in the process once again tells us that this process was not what we were told,” Bogusz said.
Bogusz said he will be reaching out to Canada’s minister of transport requesting that his office intervenes immediately to stop the process.
Layoffs are also coming at four area control centres in Gander, N.L., Moncton, N.B., Montreal and Edmonton, and at air traffic control towers in St-Jean, Que., Windsor, Ont., Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Regina, Fort McMurray, Alta., Prince George, B.C., and Whitehorse, Yukon according to CATCA.