COVID-19 Forces KF Aerospace To Downsize

The novel coronavirus crisis has led to reductions of KF Aerospace's 1,100 staff.
Credit: KF Aerospace

Canadian MRO provider KF Aerospace has reduced its 1,100 strong workforce by 14% citing the impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The company, which provides aircraft heavy maintenance checks and modifications at two locations in Kelowna, British Columbia and in Hamilton, Ontario, had resisted layoffs initially in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. But the immediate grounding of aircraft led to around 50% of its scheduled maintenance work being cancelled, according to KF Aerospace President Tracy Medve.

The MRO provider says the restructuring was taken due to the poor long-term outlook in aviation, with no solutions in the near-term for passenger airline travel. “Through a combination of voluntary long-term leaves, resignations and retirements, as well as a small number of layoffs, KF was able to reduce staff levels by about 14%,” the company said in a statement released Friday (Oct. 16).

KF Aerospace also sought support from The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, set up by the Canadian government in response to the crisis which offered 75% subsidies initially for a 12-week period from March 15 to June 6.

According to the company, the restructuring has balanced the need for lower operating costs with the desire to remain viable and well-positioned with staff for the future rebound in aviation.

However, KF Aerospace is to press ahead with plans to build a new CA$25 million ($18.9 million) building project that includes a new hangar at its Kelowna location. Construction on the facility was originally set to begin in March to coincide with the company’s 50th birthday but was delayed in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

Building of the hangar, along with an air museum and conference center, is scheduled for next January with completion expected by March 2022.

James Pozzi

As Aviation Week's European MRO editor, James Pozzi covers the latest industry news from the European region and beyond. He also writes in-depth features on the commercial aftermarket for Inside MRO.