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At Pacific Coastal Airlines, employees have opportunities to grow across different departments and levels.Provided

When training captain Alex Banbury flies the Beechcraft 1900 for Pacific Coastal Airlines (PCA), all the information he needs is right there on his iPad. Thanks to updates that the company made post-pandemic, Banbury no longer needs to refer to different charts or manuals on paper that can get wet or ripped or outdated.

“From a pilot’s perspective, the move to iPads has made flight operations a whole lot easier,” says Banbury. “Now everything’s in one place, everyone’s got the same correct document, and we can share information digitally, which is way more beneficial for everybody.

“We also have new GPS in all our aircraft, with moving map navigation that displays better approach capability. PCA’s commitment to new technology has not only improved efficiency for the company, but benefited the employees to make our jobs more enjoyable.”

PCA, a privately-owned, British Columbia-based regional airline, operates from Vancouver International Airport’s South Terminal and currently flies to 18 B.C. airports. In addition to upgrading its flight technology, the company recently launched a human resources management system to streamline and simplify employee payroll and records, as well as improving health benefits, sick days policy and vacation time.

President Quentin Smith says that in many ways, the pandemic enabled the company to have a fresh start to meet the challenges of a changed world.

“Being in the hospitality transportation industry, we were hammered by COVID-19 and virtually shut down for a period of time in 2020,” says Smith. “It gave us that pause to take a breath and think about what we really wanted to focus on again, and that was our people, both customers and employees.

“For the next two years, we were able to really manage our regrowth and concentrate on some different aspects of the business, such as software development and other initiatives we weren’t able to do pre-pandemic because we lacked the additional people outside of our daily operations to implement large projects.

“We’re a forward-facing customer service business – ‘People Friendly, People First’ is our tagline – so we refocused on that and created quite a bit of reorganization for leadership within the company to align with those specific areas.”

Banbury says the changes in technology and advancements on the aircraft have made PCA more attractive to younger pilots – important for recruiting in a competitive industry. Some jobs, such as pilot and for aircraft maintenance, are a very specific trade with a limited supply of qualified people. The company’s advantage is that it has lots of room for growth if a person is motivated.

“PCA has never been afraid of promoting from within,” says Banbury. “Since COVID-19, the company has restructured to support its growing employee base, providing many opportunities across all departments and levels in the organization, whether it be training roles, supervisors, middle management or even senior and executive positions.”

“Someone may come in and start as a customer service or cargo agent or even in dispatch,” adds Smith. “Then they’ll learn to fly and get an opportunity to become a first officer. People can start a career path within the company and have opportunities to grow.”

Despite its refocus to be “people -centric,” Banbury says PCA has always been a people-friendly culture.

“When I started 11 years ago, it was about the people then and still is – and that’s not just the people you know at the company, but also the people we serve as well as the communities,” says Banbury. “I’ve always enjoyed where I am and what I do. Pacific Coastal Airlines has treated me well.”

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Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.

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