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  1. . Pilots arrested at Glasgow Airport before boarding US flight Sat Aug 03, 2019 - BBC News Two United Airlines pilots have been arrested at Glasgow Airport for allegedly failing a breath test before boarding a flight to New York. The men, aged 45 and 61, have not been charged but remain in custody and are expected to appear before Paisley Sheriff Court on Tuesday. Police Scotland confirmed officers were called to the airport at 07:35 BST. The men were arrested before boarding flight UA162. It was expected to take off for Newark at around 09:00 but was cancelled. Pilots jailed United Airlines said in a statement the safety of its customers and crew was "always our top priority". It said: "We hold all of our employees to the highest standards and have a strict, no tolerance policy for alcohol. "These pilots were immediately removed from service and we are fully cooperating with local authorities. "At this time, we are working to get our customers back on their journey as soon as possible." A Police Scotland spokeswoman confirmed two men, aged 61 and 45, have been arrested and remain in police custody pending a scheduled court appearance on Tuesday 6 August for alleged offences under the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003. The legislation covers carrying out pilot duties while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The limit for alcohol detected in the breath for pilots is less than half the limit for drivers in Scotland. In 2017, two United Airline pilots were jailed for breaching drink-fly limits at Glasgow Airport. First Officer Paul Grebenc, 35, was sentenced to 10 months in prison. His colleague Carlos Roberto Licona, 45, was jailed for 15 months. .
  2. . How the Boeing 737 Max groundings made Swoop's operational problems even worse Fri July 12, 2019 - Financial Post by Emily Jackson WestJet Airlines Ltd.’s ultra-low-cost carrier Swoop only has seven planes in service, so it’s no wonder passenger complaints ensued after unscheduled maintenance forced the budget brand to simultaneously ground two of its jets and cancel 23 flights during the past week. But Swoop’s operational problems were made even worse because of the prolonged grounding of Boeing 737 Max planes, said aviation industry experts. Although Swoop doesn’t operate any Max jets, it would typically turn to its parent company WestJet or a short-term charter to replace capacity if it needed to park a plane for longer-than-expected maintenance. But WestJet does not have any surplus capacity to spare since the Max fleet was grounded globally this spring after two fatal crashes, a move that required the Canadian airline to park 13 planes. “WestJet is totally ‘maxed’ out, as they have been scrambling to fill the gaps left by the Boeing Max fleet grounding,” Robert Kokonis, president of consultancy AirTrav Inc., said in an email. Airlines around the world are trying to fill those gaps with their remaining assets in an effort to keep up with demand during the busy summer season. Canada’s largest airlines, WestJet and Air Canada, have both suspended their financial guidance as it is not clear when authorities will approve the Boeing 737 Max fleet’s return to the skies. In the meantime, WestJet has delayed lease returns of older planes and held off on transferring aircraft to Swoop, Kokonis said. Other carriers with Max planes have taken similar measures, along with entering short-term leases for additional aircraft. “This has dried up the available pool of really short-term charter aircraft that could be popped into a schedule at short notice,” he said. Unfortunately, that meant disappointment for wannabe Swoop passengers who had booked tickets to destinations including Las Vegas, Halifax and Edmonton from July 5 to 10. Some were rebooked on flights as long as five days later when Swoop discovered an engine on one plane had a leaking oil seal and needed replacement. “This requires a significant amount of work and disassembly in order to fully repair the issue,” spokeswoman Karen McIsaac said in an emailed statement. “Swoop looked at leasing other aircraft, but due to the grounding of the MAX there is limited availability.” Swoop brought in extra staff at its contact centre to respond to customers by email and on social media, where the airline received a flurry of angry posts. It rebooked people on the next available Swoop flight and, if that wasn’t suitable, tried to find alternative arrangements or offered cancellations with full refunds. Swoop is conducting a full review of the incident so it can make changes to regain customer trust, McIsaac said. It has already determined the need for more support in the call centre, she added. Unexpected disruptions have an outsized impact on ultra-low-cost airlines such as Swoop, especially ones with such a small fleet, said Michael Taylor, practice lead for travel at research company JD Power. “It’s all about efficiency of aircraft,” he said. “They rely on keeping their aircraft in the air.” But it’s not just a budget brand problem. Rebooking passengers on any airline is more challenging than it was five years ago because an improved world economy has resulted in more people purchasing flights, especially in North America, Taylor said. Most people are flying on their own dime and aren’t particularly brand loyal, he said. Swoop’s problems over the past week are a “black eye,” Taylor added, but people will keep choosing it as long as its low prices bump it up the list on search engines. “Their business model is the lowest price,” he said. “That will attract people.” .
  3. . Air Canada imposes 'no fly' ban, demands $18K from woman after ticket scam Airline says online purchase of cheap ticket was like 'buying a television set in a bar' Mon Jun 03, 2019 - CBC News Eric Rankin A woman who says she unknowingly bought fraudulently obtained airline tickets online claims she's being treated like a criminal by Air Canada. Canada's biggest air carrier is demanding Ann Qian repay over $18,600 for return flights between Toronto, Vancouver and Shanghai — and has banned her from flying its routes until she pays up. Qian, 25, says like thousands of Canadians, she was simply buying online. And she calls Air Canada's demands "bullying." "They say I'm a liar, but they just don't want to know the details. They just [want] me to pay the money." Qian's lawyer and an air passenger rights advocate say Air Canada doesn't have the right to put her on its "no fly" list or demand she pay for tickets she purchased in good faith. But the airline says buying tickets online from an unverified seller is akin to buying a TV in a bar. Air Canada has rejected mediation, and the dispute will be decided in arbitration before the Canadian Transportation Agency. 3 unchallenged flights Qian came from Shanghai two years ago to train as a pastry chef at a college in Scarborough, Ont. She turned to WeChat — a Chinese messaging and social media app — to find cheap flights to visit her sister in Vancouver and her parents in China. She found a seller with the user name "CaptainCooll" who claimed to have access to "Air Canada employee discount" tickets. Screen captures provided to CBC News show an ad promising a "hot sale" of up to 50 per cent off. Qian says she didn't realize she was buying from a fraudster who was using a stolen credit card to book airline seats on behalf of unsuspecting clients, then pocketing their payments. She became a repeat customer after flying three times with Air Canada over almost a year and a half without an issue. Qian says she paid "CaptainCooll" $5,800 for the flights, which included "deals" on business class seats. 'Shocked, stressed' by ban But in November, when Qian went to Toronto's Pearson airport to catch her fourth flight, she was denied boarding and told she was on Air Canada's "no fly" list. "I'm so shocked why I'm on that list … so worried," she recalls. "It makes me very stressed." She was out-of-pocket for that Vancouver return trip — and for a pre-booked fifth flight to Shanghai — another $3,600. When Qian confronted "CaptainCooll" online and demanded her money back, he blocked her and then disappeared. Qian says she contacted Toronto police in April in a bid to find the fraudster . Air Canada demands $18,683.66 Despite Qian's personal losses, Air Canada insists she owes $18,683.66 for the fraudulent flights she took — and that it failed to detect. In a Nov. 29 letter, the airline demanded full payment in 45 days. That was almost double the total of $9,400 Qian had paid the fraudster. She was unable to pay Air Canada and says she has no idea how much the airline now wants, given the deadline has passed. 'Hazard to property' cited The November letter also cited Qian for "prohibited conduct" under the airline's tariff rule that covers "any unusual hazard or risk … to property." Air passenger rights activist Gabor Lukacs says that makes no sense — and banning Qian is beyond the power of a common carrier such as Air Canada. "If someone was threatening to beat up the pilot or if someone was smoking in the lavatory, those are grounds for refusing to transport a passenger," says Lukacs. "But an airline cannot refuse to transport someone … just because they have a [financial] dispute with a person." A friend helped Qian hire Richmond, B.C., lawyer Kailin Che. "It's unjustified. It's unreasonable," says Che. "There's not grounds for their actions … Air Canada shouldn't be going after the innocent consumer." Che also wonders why Air Canada didn't flag the problem sooner, calling the delay "baffling." Lukacs agrees. "It took Air Canada more than a year to detect the fraud. So how could they possibly expect the customer to know right away?" says Lukacs. Buying a TV in a bar But the airline refuses to back down. In an April 8 email, Air Canada's legal representative rejected Qian's request to lift the travel ban, chastising her for purchasing from a seller who claimed he was an accredited travel agent "without a modicum of verification. With due respect, this is akin to buying a television set in a bar." Contacted by CBC News, an Air Canada spokesperson refused to comment on the case, but suggested customers protect themselves by buying tickets directly from the airline's website, call centre or through an official travel agent. Qian says Air Canada's demand for repayment makes her feel victimized twice. "I think and feel as if life is no hope. You just stay home. I don't know how to figure it out. And start crying a lot," she says. "I do not trust anyone now." .
  4. . When the disruptor becomes what it was trying to disrupt: Lessons from WestJet's corporate flight path Martin Pelletier: Canada needs to end this typical business success lifecycle Tue May 21, 2019 - Financial Post by Martin Pelletier It was a big week in the Canadian airline industry, starting with Onex Corp.’s agreement to acquire WestJet Airlines Ltd. for $3.5 billion, followed by Air Canada’s announcement that it has entered into exclusive talks to buy Transat A.T. Inc. for approximately $520 million. There are a few important takeaways from the WestJet story that are representative of our overall business environment and the typical lifecycle of a Canadian success story. It usually begins with a new entrant that has identified a low-cost, high-quality opportunity to disrupt an entrenched incumbent that has become accustomed to operating within a highly regulated and protected industry. Initial growth can be quite rapid as consumers jump on board this exciting new service offering, but over time, unfortunately, it often ends with the disruptor slowly turning into what it was trying to disrupt in the first place. The reason: there is limited foreign capital willing to backstop what could be a nasty fight for market share among a few incumbents, or for funding a global expansion, especially when the company has disconnected with the disruptive culture it was founded upon. As a result, financial results can only disappoint for so long before the white flag is raised via a monetization event involving one of the other incumbents or, in this particular case, a Canadian private-equity investor eagerly looking to enter the industry. Taking a closer look at WestJet, it hit the ground running out of the gate by fostering a Western Canadian entrepreneurial culture from the ground up and directing it towards disrupting what has historically been one of the most difficult sectors to break into: the airline industry. This meant undertaking a non-unionized, employee-empowered and customer-focused approach to doing business. Employees were also early shareholders and, therefore, acted like owners in their interactions with passengers as well as in keeping costs under control. It was a beautiful thing to watch. This flight path worked amazingly well as consumers immediately flocked to this exciting new upstart. Following its launch in 1996, WestJet grew to employ more than 14,000 people, have a fleet of over 180 planes and fly to 100-plus global destinations. It also managed to grab 35 per cent of the domestic capacity market share, taking Air Canada down to approximately 50 per cent. Its international capacity market share increased to approximately 15 per cent, or half that of Air Canada’s position, according to industry researcher CAPA — Centre for Aviation. Then something happened. Having already captured a large share of the domestic low-cost travel market, the company appeared to hit a wall. Its growth profile was unable to effectively steal market share in other segments (international and trans-border bookings) from Air Canada and its strong loyalty program. Meanwhile, rising costs resulted in margin compression and WestJet’s earnings before income taxes and return on invested capital, which peaked in 2015, have tumbled along with its share price. For example, despite the recent takeover offer at a 67-per-cent premium, the company’s share price is still only up 25 per cent over the past five years compared to the near 400-per-cent gain by Air Canada. As a side note, Transat’s return profile looks an awful lot like WestJet’s, as it, too, is only up 38 per cent over the same period. This evolution really isn’t that unusual. We’ve witnessed the same story unfold in other oligopoly sectors such as wealth management, banking and wireless. That said, Canada needs to end this cycle if we want to start attracting foreign capital as well as become the launching pad for homegrown globally disruptive corporations to start taking off. .
  5. . Canada’s airline industry is being remade, which is good for business travellers, and bad for the rest of us Fri May 17, 2019 - The Globe and Mail by Andrew Willis Canada’s two largest carriers are remaking the country’s airline industry and the wheeling and dealing isn’t expected to stop until there’s a new owner for Porter Airlines Inc. Porter, the Toronto-based regional carrier with the raccoon logo, is in the enviable position of being a perfect complement to the country’s second-largest player, WestJet Airlines Ltd., which agreed to a friendly $3.5-billion buyout from private-equity firm Onex Corp. last Monday. The case for consolidation grew stronger on Thursday, when market leader Air Canada announced it’s in exclusive talks to acquire charter company Transat A.T. Inc. for $520-million. These two takeovers are driven by WestJet and Air Canada’s shared goal of putting more business travellers in their planes. The acquisition of Transat and any potential deal involving Porter hold no joy for the rest of the flying public. Airline consolidation in a country that limits access for foreign carriers is going to mean less competition, in the form of fewer seat sales and higher ticket prices. After announcing an offer for WestJet, Onex managing director Tawfiq Popatia said his company had no plans to stage what the private-equity types call a “roll up” strategy by moving quickly to snap up smaller rivals. And at Porter, spokesman Brad Cicero said the two recent deals “highlight general investment interest in the airline industry, but have no direct impact on Porter’s business. Porter is not considering a sale process.” However, in finance circles, there is widespread expectation Onex’s long-term plan for transforming WestJet into a far more serious competitor to Air Canada will involve additional acquisitions. Calgary-based WestJet’s potential interest in Porter starts with the airline’s network across the eastern United States, Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. These are high-volume destinations, and Canada’s financial centre is minutes away from Porter’s main hub at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. For business travellers, convenience counts. Convenience is an issue when New York-bound passengers book a Porter flight. Their planes are routed through the airport in Newark, N.J., easily an hour from Manhattan. WestJet could shift those flights to its eight existing slots at a far more convenient airport, New York’s LaGuardia, which is currently getting a long-overdue renovation. The logistics of a partnership between Porter and WestJet work well. The two carriers already fly the same plane – the 80-passenger, propeller-driven Bombardier Q400. And both airlines can claim a customer-friendly service culture. It’s worth noting that Porter has been up for sale in the past. Its owners are founder Robert Deluce and his family – son Michael Deluce took the reins as CEO last month – along with private-equity investors Edgestone Capital Partners and the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, or OMERS. The group attempted to take the company public in 2010, but pulled the offering when they couldn’t get the price they wanted, opting instead to sell the terminal in Toronto for an estimated $700-million. Looking further ahead, Porter has long lobbied for permission to fly jets from Toronto’s island airport. To date, the federal government has nixed the idea. But if a new generation of quieter jets is allowed to take off and land at Billy Bishop – a move endorsed by Ontario Premier Doug Ford – it would dramatically increase Porter traffic through Toronto. That sort of game-changing shift is straight out of the private-equity playbook followed by investors such as Onex. An equally seismic shift would result from allowing foreign airlines greater access to the domestic market, or the opportunity to own a Canadian carrier. The history of Canadian aviation is filled with airlines that soared for a time, only to hit turbulence and be sold to stronger rivals. That list includes Wardair, Pacific Western, Canadian Airlines and Air Ontario, which the Deluce family sold to Air Canada in 1986. The current round of consolidation is notable because it will see two deep-pocketed carriers with strong leaders – Air Canada under CEO Calin Rovinescu and founder Gerry Schwartz at Onex – vying to dominate the domestic skies. It’s a corporate battle that will captivate Bay Street and benefit the business flier, and leave the rest of us paying more to check our baggage. .
  6. Yeah, there were a lot of moving parts, not the least of which was Quebec court ruling that upheld provision in original AC privatization act that no shareholder could hold more than 10% of shares, Schwartz walked away immediately after that.
  7. Believe it's gone too (Bill C-25 1998)
  8. . Ottawa says it will sell back Mirabel land expropriated for airport in 1969 Mon Apr 15, 2019 - National Post MIRABEL, Que. — The Canadian government made a “big mistake” in 1969 when it expropriated thousands of hectares of land north of Montreal to build the ill-fated Mirabel airport project, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Monday. Roughly 3,000 families were affected by the expropriations in the 1960s. Some of those who lived through it attended the minister’s news conference north of Montreal. Garneau told them Ottawa planned to sell back the last remaining unused land it expropriated for construction of the Mirabel airport. “We learned difficult lessons, and I am sorry you were the victims of that,” Garneau said. The project was supposed to turn the Mirabel airport into the main air travel hub for the Montreal region. But that vision never came to be. The airport never caught on with passengers, and its terminal was demolished in 2014. It now serves only cargo airlines. About 38,800 hectares of farmland were expropriated by Ottawa in the 1960s to make way for the project. The federal government had sold back 32,000 hectares in the 1980s, and in 2006 it began returning what remained outside the airport zone. But it excluded 300 hectares that were inaccessible by road. That obstacle was removed in 2016 when Ottawa and the city of Mirabel reached an agreement to open up the last bit of territory. Monday’s announcement was related to the final unused 300 hectares and it ends the long-running dispute over expropriated lands outside the airport zone. But the city of Mirabel continues to eye excess lands within the airport zone for industrial development purposes. Rita Lafond, one of the people expropriated 50 years ago, said the government’s decision “caused great suffering.” She asked if Garneau was able to formally apologize on behalf of the Canadian government. Garneau said he didn’t have the mandate to do that. Marcel Denis, whose father was expropriated in the 1960s, is the president of the local chapter of a major farmers’ union in the province. He said the 300 hectares were once maple syrup farms. “It’s clear that for 50 years, no one took care of the trees,” he said. “But the potential is still there.” The decision on what to do about the land within the airport zone will be put to public consultation, Garneau said. He added that any consultations need to include the Mohawks of Kanesatake. Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Simon told the news conference that the airport is located on territory promised to the Mohawks in 1760. “Minister Garneau is the first person to have given us a minimum amount of consideration,” Simon said. “All the others ignored us.” .
  9. . Airlines urging Ottawa to delay July 1 launch of passenger bill of rights Mon Apr 08, 2019 - The Globe & Mail by Bill Curry Canada’s airlines are mounting a last-minute push to delay the July 1 launch of a new passenger-rights regime that promises to compensate customers for long delays and overbooked flights. The new rules outline specific dollar amounts that passengers must receive as compensation from airlines when they face delays that are clearly under the control of the air carrier, meaning delays related to outside factors – such as the weather – would be exempt. The National Airlines Council of Canada, which represents Air Canada, Air Transat and Westjet Airlines Ltd, is among the many organizations urging federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau to delay the new rules. The council’s president, Massimo Bergamini, said it appears Mr. Garneau’s deadline is inspired by a political desire to deliver on a promise. “It’s happening because there’s an election,” he told The Globe and Mail. “Singling out the air carriers will not improve the air travel experience.” The Transport Minister, however, appears to be sticking with the timeline. “We are determined to bring Canadian travellers these long overdue rights and are working very hard to do so as quickly as possible,” Mr. Garneau said in a statement. The minister’s office provided a list of meetings, surveys and written submissions received from stakeholder groups as evidence of the consultations that have already occurred in preparation for the new rules. The airlines have convinced other groups connected to Canada’s aviation sector – including Toronto’s Pearson airport, the Calgary International Airport and Unifor – to join the letter writing effort. “Potential cost impacts are in the hundreds of millions, our ability to grow jobs in this economically important sector could be severely impeded and, more importantly, we are deeply concerned that jobs will be lost,” Unifor national president Jerry Dias wrote in a letter dated Feb. 19. “Rushing implementation of these regulations to July 1st is not realistic.” The union, which represents front-line workers at Canada’s airports, is concerned that potential problems with the new system will happen during the peak summer travel season. Ferio Pugliese, a senior vice-president with Air Canada, said in an interview that industry needs more time to prepare. He noted that airlines already have similar compensation policies in place and warned that pushing ahead with the July 1 start date will likely drive up costs and ultimately ticket prices. “We are not the enemy. We exist because of the customer,” he said. “If we’re going to put regulations in place to help even further protect customers, let’s make sure we do it in a fashion that’s informed. And right now, we don’t believe it’s very informed.” Mr. Garneau introduced the passenger bill of rights as part of a broader piece of transportation legislation in May, 2017. The legislation received Royal Assent a year later. The government then published detailed regulations in December outlining specific compensation levels that would apply in specific situations. For instance, large carriers would be required to compensate a passenger with $400 for a delay of between three and six hours. The amount would rise to $700 for a delay over six hours and $1,000 if the delay is longer than nine hours. For passengers who are denied boarding because a flight has been oversold, the rules call for $900 in compensation for a delay under six hours and up to $2,400 if a delay exceeds nine hours. However, those regulations are not the final version. After reviewing feedback, the government must still publish the final version of the regulations, which has not yet happened. The airlines say that does not leave them with enough time to make the required policy changes and related booking software updates in place by July 1. Hillary Marshall, vice-president of stakeholder relations and communications for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, said the group representing Pearson airport will also be sending a letter to Mr. Garneau. “The carriers approached us with concerns about the implementation time,” she said. “We support their efforts to ask Transport Canada to take more time to allow industry to make sure the passenger bill of rights is property implemented.” Reid Fiest, a spokesman for the Calgary Airport Authority, said the airport has also written to Mr. Garneau. “We believe if implementation is rushed, costs for airlines will increase, which would lead to higher fares being passed onto Canadians,” he said. Consumer advocate Gabor Lukacs, founder and co-ordinator of Air Passenger Rights, said he’s surprised the airlines are opposing the new rules. Mr. Lukacs said in his opinion, consumers will often be worse off under the new rules when they seek compensation for delays. “The proposed rules make things worse for Canadian travellers, that’s rather clear,” he said. “Although they provide some bombastic numbers, the conditions for getting compensation are so hard to meet that people, in practice, will virtually never seen any money.” .
  10. . The world pulls the Andon Cord on the 737 Max Tue Mar 12, 2019 - The Air Current -Jon Ostrower The 737 Max was born in the Admirals Club Lounge at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. On July 20, 2011, American Airlines was announcing it was buying 460 Airbus and Boeing aircraft to renew its fleet. One hundred were for a yet-to-be launched and yet-to-be named version of the 737 with new engines. American had purchased Boeing jets nearly exclusively for decades and Airbus had worked on American unceasingly to break Boeing’s hold at what would eventually become the world’s largest airline. It pulled out all the stops. Just 10 days before, top Airbus executives waited to meet American’s then-CFO Tom Horton in the sweltering Texas heat at the finish line of the Texas Too Hot 15K footrace to make the final hard sell. It worked. The deal had set off a chain of events that lead to today — a global safety crisis facing Boeing’s most important airplane. Boeing wanted to replace the 737. The plan had even earned the endorsement of its now-retired chief executive. “We’re gonna do a new airplane,” Jim McNerney said in February of that same year. “We’re not done evaluating this whole situation yet, but our current bias is to not re-engine, is to move to an all-new airplane at the end of the decade.” History went in a different direction. Airbus, riding its same decades-long incremental strategy and chipping away at Boeing’s market supremacy, had made no secret of its plans to put new engines on the A320. But its own re-engined jet somehow managed to take Boeing by surprise. Airbus and American forced Boeing’s hand. It had to put new engines on the 737 to stay even with its rival. Boeing justified the decision thusly: There were huge and excruciatingly painful near-term obstacles on its way to a new single-aisle airplane. In the summer of 2011, the 787 Dreamliner wasn’t yet done after billions invested and years of delays. More than 800 airplanes later here in 2019, each airplane costs less to build than sell, but it’s still running a $23 billion production cost deficit. A new single-aisle jet risked unlocking all its stalwart operators who banked on the continuity between 737 generations. An all-new jet meant leaving the past behind, along with its established infrastructure. With a lower-cost alternative in the A320neo not hamstrung by having to pay for a fresh $15 billion development, a new Boeing jet risked giving Airbus dominant market share. In the wake of a record oil run-up in 2008, airlines wanted fuel efficiency at a current-technology price. The 737 Max was Boeing’s ticket to holding the line on its position – both market and financial – in the near term. Abandoning the 737 would’ve meant walking away from its golden goose that helped finance the astronomical costs of the 787 and the development of the 777X. The 737 Max is a product of that environment where short-term decision-making can drive big and often painful pushes for product improvement. It’s one that I’ve written about extensively over the years, and born from the work of academics like Dr. Theodore Piepenbrock and his work on the Evolution of Business Ecosystems. Every airplane development is a series of compromises, but to deliver the 737 Max with its promised fuel efficiency, Boeing had to fit 12 gallons into a 10 gallon jug. Its bigger engines made for creative solutions as it found a way to mount the larger CFM International engines under the notoriously low-slung jetliner. It lengthened the nose landing gear by eight inches, cleaned up the aerodynamics of the tail cone, added new winglets, fly-by-wire spoilers and big displays for the next generation of pilots. It pushed technology, as it had done time and time again with ever-increasing cost, to deliver a product that made its jets more efficient and less costly to fly. In the case of the 737 Max, with its nose pointed high in the air, the larger engines – generating their own lift – nudged it even higher. The risk Boeing found through analysis and later flight testing that under certain high-speed conditions both in wind-up turns and wings-level flight, that upward nudge created a greater risk of stalling. Its solution was MCAS, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System control law that would allow for both generations of 737 to behave the same way, by automatically trimming the horizontal stabilizer to bring the nose down and activated with Angle of Attack data. It’s now at the center of the Lion Air investigation and stalking the periphery of the Ethiopian crash. The point, made awkwardly by the President of the United States Tuesday morning on Twitter without naming Boeing directly, was that the complexity of aviation technology was being pushed too hard and at too great a cost to safety, in the name of economics. “Split second decisions are needed, and then complexity creates danger,” Trump wrote. “All of this for great cost yet very little gain.” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg reportedly spoke with President Trump earlier Tuesday, urging him not to ground the jet. Lion Air 610 should never have been allowed to get airborne on October 29, a conclusion shared by those familiar with the inquiry. The plane simply wasn’t airworthy. According to the preliminary investigation, PK-LQP’s Angle of Attack sensors were disagreeing by 20-degrees as the aircraft taxied for takeoff. A warning light that would’ve alerted the crew to the disagreement wasn’t part of the added-cost optional package of equipment on Lion Air’s 737 Max aircraft. A guardrail wasn’t in place. Once the aircraft was airborne, the erroneous data Angle of Attack collided with an apparently unprepared crew with tragic consequences as the MCAS system repeatedly activated, driving the jet’s nose into a fatal dive. We do not yet know what befell Ethiopian Airlines flight 302. The broad circumstances are similar to those in Indonesia. An apparent loss of control shortly after takeoff on a brand new airplane. The isolated event data, the information that lives on the damaged flight data recorder, may establish or disprove a direct technical link between the two crashes. But the macro-data – the broader context – is an airplane whose design has been repeatedly pushed and pulled under cost pressures and grandfathered certification requirements over decades, finds itself in the middle of two catastrophic aberrations in an era of unprecedented aviation safety. If it was Southwest Airlines and American Airlines and not Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines five months apart, the 737 Max fleet would’ve been grounded by Sunday evening, according to senior U.S. industry officials and aviation safety experts. In aviation universe that requires stakeholders to be aligned, the events of the last 48 hours are a stark divergence. From China to Europe, regulators and airlines have said it was time to stand down the 737 Max fleet “as a precautionary measure,” according to European Aviation Safety Agency. Boeing in a statement Tuesday said, “We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets. We’ll continue to engage with them to ensure they have the information needed to have confidence in operating their fleets.” The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday in a statement that “our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding of the aircraft. Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action…If any issues affecting the continued airworthiness of the aircraft are identified, the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action.” The 737 assembly line in Renton, Wash. is a marvel of lean manufacturing. The line inches forward little-by-little as assembly proceeds. Born from Toyota’s production methods, the process is one of continual improvement. It’s what made the 737 the lifeblood of Boeing in the first place and why this crisis, taken to its most extreme, could threaten the company’s very existence. But the assembly line also comes with a tool called an Andon cord. The cord empowers all employees to pull the it and stop the line if something is amiss or requires investigation and needs fixing. The rest of the world has already pulled it. .
  11. . NEB says Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in public interest despite ‘adverse’ impact on whale population 'Environmental activists decried the NEB report' .
  12. . WestJet is in trouble. Is becoming more like Air Canada the fix? Born as a scrappy discount upstart, WestJet has suffered through internal upheavals and badly lagged Air Canada in recent years. But now the airline is adding big new planes, a business class with lie-flat seats, an ultra-low-cost subsidiary and much more. Is any of it going to work? Thu Feb 21, 2019 - Globe and Mail Joe Castaldo Last May, Ed Sims took the stage in an airplane hangar in Calgary in front of throngs of WestJet Airlines Ltd. employees. With the sweaty, almost endearing awkwardness that middle-aged men can’t shake during moments like this, the CEO goosed his audience to wave their hands in the air. “Play louder! Give it more!” Sims shouted to the DJ, and whipped off his suit jacket and tie. Once he deemed the crowd sufficiently enthused, Sims got to the matter at hand. “It’s not every day an airline gets to usher in a completely new business model,” he said. Standing onstage wasn't a place Sims expected to be when he joined WestJet a year earlier. CEO succession wasn't even part of the discussion when he left New Zealand to move 12,000 kilometres to Calgary to join WestJet as an executive vice-president. But last March, then-CEO Gregg Saretsky stepped down abruptly, and two months later, here Sims was, charged with spearheading an ambitious international expansion plan. Sims was showcasing an artist's rendering of WestJet's new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, a fuel-efficient widebody jet that will allow the airline to fly greater distances—perhaps someday to Asia. Ensconced in the 787s will be WestJet's first true business class cabin. Onstage, he cued up a promo video. The camera lingered on the stitching of the leather seats before panning to a businessman dining with a cloth napkin. Other passengers wandered around blissfully, stopping to chat at a wine bar. Come nighttime, our businessman donned pajamas and cozied up with a blanket, fully reclined in a lie-flat seat and still scrolling through his smartphone. Work never stops for our road warrior. Born in 1996 as a scrappy domestic discount airline, WestJet now wants to attract well-heeled business travellers who will drop thousands for first-class service. In 2017, WestJet placed orders for 10 Dreamliners with an option for 10 more and will take delivery of three by March. Seven more will arrive over the next two years. The first international Dreamliner takes flight from Calgary to London in April, with Paris and Dublin to follow. The airline has also added a new highend tier to its loyalty program to entice bigger spenders. It's all very unlike WestJet, the once-humble, low-cost, lowfare carrier known for corny in-flight jokes. But just what kind of airline it is these days is up in the air. Three of its four founders left long ago. The exception, and one of the last links to WestJet's early days, is Clive Beddoe, 72, who remains chair and a large shareholder. If you ask Sims, he’ll tell you that “WestJet is a low-fare domestic airline, with a premium international arm,” which is a mouthful. What he won’t quite say directly is that WestJet increasingly resembles its archrival. Sims won’t even say the name Air Canada in an interview, referring to it as “our competitor.” He also jokes he’ll call it Voldemort, named after Harry Potter’s nemesis. Both carriers have separate budget-oriented airlines, regional brands and mainline offerings. Sims’s play for business travellers marks another push into Air Canada’s territory. But as WestJet strays from its roots, it risks losing what made it unique. WestJet's appeal to investors over Air Canada has always been its lower cost structure, healthy balance sheet and gung-ho workplace culture. “We see these advantages quickly disappearing,” wrote CIBC analyst Kevin Chiang in a note last year. WestJet pilots unionized in 2017, and flight attendants joined the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) last August. There are rumblings other groups could be next. “It's just so shocking that it would happen at WestJet,” says Helane Becker, an analyst with Cowen and Co. LLC. The company’s sagging share price reflects the stock market’s deep concern. WestJet suffered its first quarterly loss in 13 years in 2018, as its non-union operation started to crack. Over the past five years, WestJet’s share price has sunk by about 25%, while Air Canada’s has soared by more than 270%. WestJet's push for growth is putting more pressure on the airline's culture and its financials. Sims, 55, will have to repair relations with employees and improve profitability, all while guiding the airline into uncertain territory when the 787s take flight. The market is clearly skeptical, but Sims is fully committed to reversing the malaise. After revealing a 3-D rendering of WestJet's 787 on stage last May, he wiped a mock tear from his eye and asked, “Isn't that beautiful?” “I’ll stand corrected, but I don’t think there is anybody else who will be offering a full lie-flat bed service into Gatwick,” “There’s probably a reason the other guys don’t do it.” .
  13. . 'That's just wrong': Air Canada backtracks on compensation after passenger gives up seat on overcrowded flight New air passenger protection legislation provides no guaranteed compensation for volunteers Sun Feb 03, 2019 - CBC News A Toronto man is fighting back after Air Canada failed to honour a deal to compensate him with an $800 voucher for giving up his seat on an overcrowded plane from Vancouver to Toronto — instead, emailing him a promotion code for a 15 per cent discount on a future flight. Daniel Tsai said he couldn't believe what he was reading when he opened the Air Canada email offering the discount instead of the airline's previous $800 offer. "It was like reading a Donald Trump tweet," says Tsai. "It didn't make any sense. Just bafflement. And, yes, I was angry." An air passenger rights advocate says airlines renege on verbal promises, because the airline regulator isn't cracking down when passenger rights are violated, and proposed rules don't address compensation for people who voluntarily give up their seats. "I generally recommend passengers not volunteer to give up their seats, because we hear too many cases like this one, where passengers have difficulty in getting compensation they were promised," says Gabor Lukacs, founder of Air Passenger Rights. What led to the dispute Tsai visited family in Vancouver over the Christmas holidays, and was scheduled to fly home to Toronto on the afternoon of Jan. 4. When he checked in at an Air Canada kiosk at Vancouver International Airport, he got his first inkling something might be amiss. A prompt on the screen asked whether he'd be willing to voluntarily give up his seat. "I didn't really think much of it until I got to the gate," says Tsai. "It was just pandemonium. There were people sitting on the floor. There were babies crying. It was a miserable experience." Tsai says he didn't have a pressing need to get home, so he approached a gate agent, and volunteered to take a later flight. "I wanted to do something nice and help a family get home that night. I thought, you know, I should step up and do this." Tsai says an agent initially told him he'd get a $600 voucher in exchange for taking a later flight, to which he agreed. As he boarded his rescheduled flight six hours later, he says a gate agent turned her screen to show his file, pointing out a note saying that he would be compensated with an $800 voucher. The next day, instead of the voucher, Tsai got an email from Air Canada offering the 15 per cent discount on a future flight. He wrote back to the airline, pointing out that the deal was for an $800 voucher, and that's what he expected to receive. Air Canada replied, acknowledging that Tsai had indeed been offered an $800 voucher, but claiming he had been "moved to an earlier flight," so the 15 per cent discount stood. Tsai denies he was moved to an earlier flight, and provided his boarding passes, which showed his new flight was scheduled to depart more than six hours later than his original departure time. The Air Canada email said the airline was offering $300 for future travel as a "goodwill gesture." "I think that's just wrong," says Tsai, who is a business lawyer and part-time professor at Humber College Business School, where he teaches business law and marketing. "As a business professor, I consider that to be a marketing fail," he says. "I give Air Canada an F." 'There's a binding contract here' Another law professor — and expert on contract law — agrees that Air Canada needs to be schooled on customer service. "Certainly this feels a bit like Contract 101," says Michael Geist, who works at the University of Ottawa. As a regular Air Canada customer, he says he often hears the airline make announcements asking people to voluntarily give up their seat. "The airline offered up compensation, the passenger accepted it. It's not open to the airline to say, 'Well, we don't really like that deal anymore and so we'd like to change it.'" Law professor Michael Geist says a verbal contract is binding, so Air Canada is obligated to make good on its promise to give Tsai an $800 voucher. (Submitted by Michael Geist ) Geist says he's "perplexed" that Air Canada didn't honour a verbal promise, which was noted in Tsai's file. "Perhaps you have a company that thinks that passenger is unlikely to fight back and will be satisfied with whatever they offer," he says. "The notion that an airline wouldn't stand by what they promised, I think, is damaging to their reputation." Air Canada increases compensation Go Public requested an interview with Air Canada to discuss why it didn't honour its deal with Tsai. The airline declined, sending a statement that did not address why it didn't make good on its promise. Instead, it explained that the flight was overbooked because the original plane had to be substituted with a smaller aircraft "due to an operational issue." When Go Public asked what the "operational issue" was — whether it was mechanical, safety, staffing, or a case of not selling enough tickets on the larger plane and deciding to use a smaller aircraft to save staffing and fuel costs — the airline did not respond. After Go Public contacted the airline, Air Canada emailed Tsai again, increasing its compensation by $500. The email did not explain why he was receiving the new offer. Broken promises Lukacs says his passenger rights organization has heard from other travellers on various airlines who were promised things at the gate that didn't materialize. "It may be a promise for a hotel or meal vouchers by one agent — and then being refused by another agent, and being refused by the company's customer service," says Lukacs. "It's not uncommon, unfortunately." He says Tsai's case is a prime example of a passenger being misled. "This was sheer wrong," he says. "Air Canada got the passenger's seat in exchange for an offer for $800 in vouchers. Therefore, that has to be honoured." Files complaint Even though Tsai finally got the $800 compensation he was originally promised and a 15 per cent discount on a future flight, he's calling for the creation of an external watchdog that would make sure airlines inform passengers about their rights, and let them know where they can file complaints to get justice. "The odd thing is, I'm a law professor and I had to spend several hours researching this topic myself to find out what I had to do," he says. The business professor has turned his Air Canada experience into a lesson for his Humber College business students. He has created a PowerPoint presentation about how corporations handle complaints from the public. Tsai has also filed a complaint about his experience with the airline regulator — the Canadian Transportation Agency — a body he believes needs to crack down on airlines that violate passenger rights. .
  14. . Border Services vague on why passengers stranded in Goose Bay for 16 hours were kept on plane What has changed since 187 people were taken off plane and housed at CFB Goose Bay in 2015? Thu Jan 24, 2019 - CBC News Nearly five days after 250 passengers were kept on a plane for 16 hours in Labrador, the Canada Border Services Agency still isn't saying why they weren't allowed to disembark. Late Saturday night, United Airlines Flight 179 from Newark, N.J., to Hong Kong was diverted to Goose Bay Airport because of a medical emergency. Medical personnel met the plane and took the passenger to hospital, while the remaining passengers were kept on board and told the airport didn't have customs capacity to handle so many people. With the plane unable to take off due to a malfunctioning door, the airline brought in another plane that took the passengers back to Newark, leaving around 2 p.m. the next day. The agency declined CBC's request for an interview and provided an emailed response instead Tuesday afternoon, saying the Goose Bay airport is designated "an authorized AOE/15," which allows for the clearance and refuelling of scheduled air traffic "not exceeding 15 passengers and crew." Decision rests with the pilot: CBSA CBC asked the agency whether that means Goose Bay Airport doesn't have the capacity to handle unscheduled flights with more than 15 people aboard, and if so, what has changed since nearly 200 people on a diverted United Airlines flight in June 2015 were allowed to get off. In a followup response from the CBSA on Thursday afternoon, the agency did not answer those questions, but repeated Goose Bay's designation as an authorized AOE/15. In the 2015 incident, United Airlines wound up apologizing to passengers because they were housed at CFB Goose Bay, while the flight crew were put up at a hotel. CBSA's statement Tuesday noted its normal operating hours at Goose Bay Airport are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, but the followup response Thursday said its hours are 8 a.m. to midnight. A spokesperson explained via email that staff work in the office until 6:30 p.m. but the CBSA continues to provide service either from Goose Bay or from its Gander office. "There are procedures in place in the event of a flight diversion landing outside of normal CBSA working hours," reads the Tuesday statement, which also says the decision to request to deplane rests with the pilot of an aircraft. On Thursday, the agency's statement noted flights that arrive between midnight and 8 a.m. and require clearance are handled "on a cost-recovery basis." Asked if the pilot requested deplaning, the agency said Thursday afternoon it received a request from United Airlines around 6:15 a.m. GMT (2:15 a.m. in Happy Valley-Goose Bay) for CBSA service to deplane passengers. However, the agency later corrected that time to have been 6:15 a.m. NT, so 5:45 a.m. in Labrador. The statement said the agency began a "rotational disembarkation" for groups of 20 to 30 passengers at a time while waiting for the rescue plane, but did not state what time the first group of passengers was actually allowed off the plane. The status of the passenger taken off for medical reasons is unclear, as the agency said it doesn't speak to the specifics of any one particular case. .