A $16.5-million funding package from the Nova Scotia government helped influence Chorus Aviation Inc.’s decision to keep its Halifax heavy maintenance base open over its London facility, the president of the airline operator said Monday.
Joe Randell said Jazz Aviation, a subsidiary of Chorus, was strongly swayed after the provincial government offered financial incentives to expand in Halifax.
“This assistance from the province was a significant factor in making the decision to consolidate our heavy maintenance here,” Randell said following a news conference at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.
Randell said Chorus was in talks with the Ontario government to keep the jobs in London, but declined to elaborate on the “several alternatives” his company was considering.
But a spokesman for Ontario’s economic development minister said the company didn’t give the province a chance to find a way to keep the London facility operating.
“We were aware that Jazz had been conducting a strategic facility review, but Ontario officials were not given an opportunity to engage in this review or offer support to retain the facility in London,” Andrew Block said in an email.
“We understand that one significant consideration for Jazz had been physical limitations at their site in London driven by significant fleet changes.”
The announcement comes days after Chorus announced it would add six new planes to its fleet, but in doing so will close its London site next summer, a move that will affect about 200 workers. Randell said some of those will be offered jobs in Halifax.
“We’re not sure how many people will take the move,” Randell said. “Right now, we employ in London about 150 people alone, and they will be offered assistance to move to Nova Scotia, et cetera, over the next year.”
-With files from The Canadian Press