Aviation Security/Flight Safety

Truly captive audience

Westjet’s CEO says the airline will reassess its policies after Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre was able to use an aircraft’s public address system to deliver a 45-second in-flight speech on the weekend. Most passengers were heading back to Calgary from a party convention in Quebec City on the scheduled service flight but the cabin staff’s union complained about “partisan” use of the aircraft. [node:read-more:link]

Airline pilots exodus worrisome

The number of Canadian commercial pilots wanting to fly for U.S. carriers jumped to 147 last year from 39 in 2021. The Federal Aviation Administration numbers are published at a time when U.S. pilots are getting significant pay and the presumptive exodus is worrisome for Canadian airlines. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian aircraft company sued

Calgary-based DeHavilland Aircraft of Canada is named in three lawsuits filed this week in a Washington state court in relation to a floatplane crash last September. The pilot and nine passengers died when the single-engine DHC-3 Turbine Otter plunged into the sea near Seattle. The National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report six weeks later that the pilot likely lost control due to a failure in the aircraft’s horizontal tail stabilizer. [node:read-more:link]

More Boeing 737 problems

Transport Canada says domestic carriers operating Boeing 737 MAX jets must limit the use of an engine anti-icing system to avoid possible catastrophic damage. The decision follows an August 10 U.S. regulatory directive. [node:read-more:link]

Nav Canada tracking flight delays

The not-for-profit corporation that oversees Canada’s air traffic control, has launched a new social media account to track and publicize the causes of delays at four major Canadian airports. A post-pandemic shortage of controllers is blamed for some delays but Nav Canada says its “new communication protocol” should “ensure air passengers have access to accurate and timely information.” [node:read-more:link]

Four federal ministers quitting

Two days ahead of an expected federal cabinet shuffle, four ministers confirmed July 24 that they would be stepping down. They include Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, Public Services & Procurement Minister Helena Jaczek and Mental Health and Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett, all from Toronto ridings, and Fisheries & Oceans Minister Joyce Murray of Vancouver, who also is responsible for the Canadian Coast Guard. [node:read-more:link]

Airlines face regulatory “beating”

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says he’s ready to take a harder line with airlines when it comes to passengers’ rights. Responding to the industry’s ongoing issues, he has already investigated and penalized carriers for how they respond to complaints but now says “we’re going to beat ‘em up when we think that’s important to get passengers a better deal.” [node:read-more:link]

Canada joins suit against Iran

The International Court of Justice was asked today by Canada, Britain, Sweden and Ukraine to issue a ruling against Iran for shooting down a Ukrainian airliner in January 2020 shortly after it took off from Tehran airport. The 176 passengers and crew included 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents. [node:read-more:link]

WestJet continues consolidation

A week after announcing that it was folding its Swoop discount division into its main operations, Calgary-based WestJet plans to do likewise with its Sunwing division, which runs charters as well as also offering discount fares on some scheduled services. The transition is expected to take up to two years as WestJet streamlines its response to fierce competition. [node:read-more:link]

Canada to seize Russian aircraft

The federal government plans to seize a Russian-registered Antonov 124 cargo aircraft which has been stranded at Toronto International since February 2022 when a Ukrainian court ruled that it should be grounded. Its operator, Volga-Dnepr Airlines and its Moscow-based parent, were added to Canada’s sanctions list in April and Global Affairs Canada says it will work “on options to redistribute this asset to compensate victims of human rights abuses […] or rebuild Ukraine.” [node:read-more:link]

WestJet closing down Swoop

Five years after setting it up, WestJet Airlines announced June 9 that it will shut down its discount arm, Swoop, effective October 28, and integrate all staff into the carrier’s core operation. [node:read-more:link]

France bans short-haul flights

Despite airline industry questions about its legality under European Union rules, France has banned domestic short-haul flights over distances which can be serviced by rail in under two and a half hours. The measure is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. [node:read-more:link]

Trusted traveller program revamped

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced today that the trusted-traveller program at airports in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Montreal is being reworked over two weeks starting June 7. It will relax rules about the content of carry-on baggage and enable children younger than 18 and adults 75 and older to accompany verified travellers on the same reservation to move quickly through security. [node:read-more:link]

WestJet swoops toward strike

Pilots at WestJet and its Swoop discount division are set to strike ahead of the May long weekend. The company responded May 15 by announcing that it would lock out the 1,850 pilots after receiving a 72-hour strike notice. Their union said pay, job security and scheduling issues remain unresolved. [node:read-more:link]


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