Lakelad

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  1. . Would've video provided confirmation of who and when? Air Canada pilot blames switched radio channel for close call in San Francisco Thu Jan 11, 2018 - The Globe and Mail Eric Atkins The pilot of an Air Canada plane that landed at San Francisco International Airport despite repeated orders to abort the touchdown told U.S. investigators the crew could not hear the commands because the cockpit radio's frequency had been changed, according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail. The Airbus 320 from Montreal was within 2.1 kilometres of touching down at about 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 when an air-traffic controller ordered the plane to abandon the landing because another passenger jet had not cleared the runway. When the Air Canada crew failed to respond, the controller repeated the "go around" command six times. The tower then took the unusual step of flashing a red light at the cockpit in a final attempt to wave it off, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said. The orders went unheeded. After the pilot landed safely, he told the tower he had radio trouble. The air-traffic controller replied, "That's pretty evident," according to a recording of the communications from LiveATC.net. In a postincident interview, the pilot told FAA investigators he received clearance to land before the radio frequency was changed, but did not say who switched the channel or why, according to FAA reports obtained by The Globe in a Freedom of Information request. "After receiving landing clearance from SFO [San Francisco] tower, the VHF radio frequency was changed to another frequency. The runway was clear and in sight so I landed," the pilot said. "After clearing the runway is when we discovered that the tower did try to communicate with us but we did not hear any communications until on the ground." The FAA said the pilot's failure to monitor radio communications is a violation of federal aviation regulations, but "appears to not have been intentional." The incident report said the other plane was clear of the runway when Air Canada landed, but it was not clear if "all parts" of the plane had crossed the holding line on the taxiway. The close call is the second recent incident involving Air Canada passenger jets making nighttime landings at San Francisco and raises questions about Canada's rules governing pilot flight time and fatigue. The incident, which could have involved hundreds of passengers and crew members, was averted when the Air Canada crew aborted the landing 59 feet above the ground, flying over the jets waiting to take off just before midnight local time. Speaking about the Oct. 22 incident, retired pilot John Cox speculated fatigue could have made the pilot less aware the normally busy radio had gone silent. A crew member likely switched the console-mounted radio to another frequency by mistake, said Mr. Cox, who flew for 48 years. "It's likely that they never knew they didn't have radio communication," he said. Air Canada declined to comment. The Vancouver-based pilot's name, age and other identifying information were blacked out in the FAA documents obtained by The Globe. According to the report, the pilot had flown a total of 26,000 hours, including 7,500 in the Airbus model involved in the incident. The pilot told investigators it was his first flight of the day and he had been on duty for 10 hours with eight or more hours of rest in the previous 24 hours. He said he believed fatigue played no role in the incident and he was not feeling rushed, according to the report. Airline industry experts say Canada's rules on pilot flight duty times are more lax than those of the United States, Europe and many other countries. Canadian pilots, who adhere to Canadian rules when they fly internationally, are allowed to be at the controls more hours in a month and are entitled to less rest between flying than pilots in most other countries. Canadian rules permit flight crews to be at work for 14 hours, compared with nine to 13 or 14 hours for pilots in the United States and Europe. "When you compare Canada's rule to the U.S., Europe and others, there's probably only two or three countries with more lax rules than us," said Dan Adamus, the president of the Canadian branch of the Air Line Pilots Association. Clinton Marquardt, an industry fatigue consultant and a former Transportation Safety Board investigator, said pilots' working conditions make them vulnerable to fatigue and their abilities to operate safely can suffer. "One of the challenges pilots have is they're expected to sleep at all different times during the day. And their body takes time to adjust to new sleep periods," Mr. Marquardt said. The Canadian government has proposed new rules for pilot flight duty and rest, noting "the current Canadian regulatory regime does not reflect the scientific principles and knowledge on fatigue that were only discovered and understood in the last few decades," according to a Transport Canada summary of the proposed rules. The final version of the new rules is expected to be issued early in 2018. Large passenger airlines will have 12 months to comply. Pilot groups say the new rules are not tough enough and place airlines' financial interests ahead of passenger and crew safety. "The good news is we're on our way to a new rule. The bad news is it's not as robust as it should be," Mr. Adamus of the Air Line Pilots Association said. Under the proposed rules, flight duty time, which includes pre- and postflight work, is reduced from 14 hours to a range of nine to 13 hours, depending on the time of day the pilot started work. Yearly flight time is capped at 1,000 hours, down from 1,200 hours. However, the Air Canada pilots union says the new rules will allow pilots whose long-range flights begin in the late afternoon or evening to fly for more hours than their U.S. counterparts. Mr. Adamus, a pilot with Jazz Aviation, said the new rules are silent on a pilot's maximum daily flight time, compared with the United States' eight or nine hours or the 8 1/2 hours recommended by NASA. Risk of collision or "loss of separation" accounted for 139 of 833 incidents in Canada in 2016, according to Canada's Transportation Safety Board. TSB data show landings account for the vast majority of aircraft accidents in Canada between 2007 and 2016. Since the July near miss, the FAA has changed the rules governing night landings at San Francisco. When an adjacent runway is closed, pilots must use instruments or satellite-based systems to land, and cannot rely solely on a visual approach. Additionally, the FAA now requires two air-traffic controllers be on duty during busy nighttime periods. .
  2. . Unstable approach was key factor in plane crash that killed Jean Lapierre and family, TSB report finds Transportation Safety Board reveals results of investigation into death of former cabinet minister Wed Jan 10, 2018 - CBC News By Elias Abboud, Kalina Laframboise The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says the pilot's decision to continue an unstable approach was the key factor in the plane crash that killed Jean Lapierre and his family in Quebec's Magdalen Islands almost two years ago. The report says the loss of control occurred on the Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 aircraft "when the pilot rapidly added full power at low airspeed while at low altitude, which caused a power-induced upset and resulted in the aircraft rolling sharply to the right and descending rapidly." While pilot Pascal Gosselin, who both owned and flew the plane, attempted to recover, there was insufficient altitude before the aircraft struck the ground. The plane broke apart before coming to rest near a cluster of homes in the Magdalen Islands. The report found Gosselin was trying to deal with too many tasks when he lost control, with little time to react. "The pilot was in a very complex situation, in an unstable situation," said TSB investigations director Natacha Van Themsche. "It's a mix of factors. The pilot, you have to understand, that most other pilots probably would have taken the same actions." The TSB also found that while Gosselin had the number of required hours to fly the aircraft, he had only flown that aircraft for a total of four hours in the month prior to the crash. The report found it was unlikely that his "flight skills and procedures were sufficiently practised to ensure his proficiency as the pilot-in-command for single-pilot operation on the MU-2B for the conditions experienced during the occurrence flight." Lapierre, his wife Nicole Beaulieu, his sister Martine Lapierre, and brothers Marc Lapierre and Louis Lapierre, all died in the crash on March 29, 2016. Lapierre was a political commentator and former Liberal federal cabinet minister. Gosselin and crew member Fabrice Labourel also died when the plane went down. The Lapierres were on their way to the Magdalen Islands to plan the funeral of the family patriarch, Raymond Lapierre, who had died a day earlier. The Lapierre family said it will read the report before commenting with a written statement. 'Suitable, not ideal' weather On the morning the flight took off from the Saint-Hubert airport, just south of Montreal, there were reports of fog on the islands, which are in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, close to P.E.I. Several commercial airlines cancelled flights because of the weather. A weather report warned of limited visibility and a low cloud ceiling with the potential for icing in the air. After the crash, some pilots and aviation experts questioned whether the twin-engine turboprop should have taken off in the first place, and whether Gosselin should have flown to an airport with better weather conditions. The findings, however, did not point to weather conditions as a contributing factor to the fatal crash. "The conditions under which the pilot operated were suitable, not ideal — but it was suitable and legal to take flight that day," said TSB chair Kathy Fox. TSB Report .
  3. Pilot Shortage Is Here

    . How the high-flying job of a pilot lost its glamour Wages, length of training, cost of school among reasons the profession struggles to attract new recruits Tue Jan 09, 2018 - CBC News As a child, Troy Stephens was fortunate enough to spend many hours soaring across the Atlantic between Canada and the U.K. to visit family. Those flights piqued his interest in aviation. "I used to be able to go up to the cockpit and look at what was going on at 30-some thousand feet in the air," said Stephens, who started with Air Georgian 20 years ago as a pilot and joined the airline's executive team last year. Back in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, a pilot carried an aura of prestige with the crisp suit, striped cuffs and brimmed airline hat. Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can, captures the position's esteem as he walks down a sidewalk and catches everyone's eye, including kids who beg for an autograph. Such respect and admiration for the person in the cockpit chair has since diminished, as have the desire for people to choose a career in aviation. Stephens wonders if the fact kids these days can no longer have the same experience as he did, at the front of the plane mid-flight, is one reason why more people aren't aspiring to become pilots anymore. "That's what got me hooked on flying. Now the door is locked," he said, referring to the post-9/11 rules requiring the cockpit door to be shut during flights. The notion is shared by Bob Connors, who runs one of the largest flight schools in the country. He too recalls rubbing shoulders with pilots during a flight as a kid. "For safety reasons, that's no longer," said Connors, general manager of Kitchener, Ont-based Wellington Waterloo Flight Centre. "There have not been as many opportunities for kids to experience aviation." "Young, sharp men and women who might have aspired to a career in aviation might have went 'Geez, maybe I shouldn't do that right now because I read about layoffs and I read about salaries not being where they could be,'" .
  4. Seasonal Whining

    Beatdowns get more eyeballs Air Canada, WestJet score low marks for punctuality Fri Jan 5, 2018 - The Globe and Mail Greg Keenan - Airline Industry Reporter Canada's two largest airlines have some work to do to make the list of the world's most punctual airlines. Neither Air Canada nor WestJet Airlines Ltd. ranked among the top 20 airlines for on-time performance in 2017 as measured by aviation consulting firm OAG Aviation Worldwide Ltd. Air Canada's on-time performance stood at 67.32 per cent last year, while 76.18 per cent of WestJet's flights arrived within 14 minutes and 59 seconds of their scheduled landing times. Those numbers compare with global leader airBaltic of Latvia, which hit the 90.01 per cent level, and Mexico-based low-cost carrier Volaris, whose on-time performance stood at 82.13 per cent as the 20th carrier among the world's 20 highest-ranking airlines. Air Canada took 17th spot among mega-airlines, which include the four largest U.S. carriers. That category was led by Japan Airlines with an 85.27-per-cent on-time performance. Among low-cost airlines, WestJet was 15th, although its 76.18 per cent was a drop from 81.36 per cent in 2016. Spain-based Vueling Airlines SA topped the list of low-cost carriers. WestJet made the top 10 North American airlines list, while Air Canada did not. OAG Worldwide examined the results for airlines that were among the 250 largest carriers in the world, measured by the number of seats in a plane times the number of kilometres it flies. Air Canada said it carried a record number of passengers last year and offered 4,000 more flights than it did in 2016. Many of those were to international destinations where arrival times can vary because of the long duration of flights, the airline said. The airline also noted prolonged runway construction at Pearson International Airport in Toronto in the spring of 2016, which had a larger impact on Air Canada than other carriers because about one-third of Air Canada's daily flights go through Pearson. "That said, we remain focused on on-time performance and continually work with airports, air traffic control, other stakeholders and internally to better optimize our schedule," Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said in an e-mail reply. WestJet also singled out the construction at Pearson, which lasted seven weeks and affected on-time performance in March and April in particular, airline spokeswoman Lauren Stewart said. WestJet's performance was the best among Canadian airlines, Ms. Stewart said, and it led all North American carriers in June and was third best in July. The company has put in place a new schedule that improves connection times for passengers travelling out of hubs in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, she said. .
  5. Is This Your Canada?

    Franchisees are being squeezed from above and below. 'Tim Hortons franchisees sue corporate parent for $850M, alleging bullying and intimidation'
  6. . West Wind grounding hints at 'glaring' safety issues: aviation experts Former Transport Canada inspector says suspension of the company's certification is a rare step Sun Dec 24, 2017 - CBC News by Guy Quenneville Transport Canada's swift grounding of all flights from the company whose plane crashed in remote Fond-du-Lac, Sask., is a rare step according to several Canadian aviation experts, and the move could indicate a "glaring discrepancy" in the company's safety procedures. On Friday, the federal airline regulator suspended the air operator certificate of Saskatoon-based West Wind Aviation. The move came nine days after a 44-seat West Wind ATR turboprop plane, carrying 22 passengers and three crew members, crashed about 1.5 kilometres west of the Fond-du-Lac runway shortly after takeoff. No one died in the crash, though six passengers and one of the pilots were seriously injured. Loss of certificate a 'rare thing' Transport Canada's inspection of an airline following a plane crash is routine. But its suspension of the company's certificate is not. The regulator said in its announcement that it grounded the airline because of "deficiencies in the company's operational control system." Operational control systems track a number of things, including: A plane's maintenance history. The weight of a plane's luggage and cargo and how that weight is distributed throughout the plane. Communication between pilots, dispatchers and other on-the-ground airline employees. The field experience of the pilots and how many hours they worked before a flight that crashed. "It's a rare thing" to suspend a certificate, said John McKenna, president of the Air Transport Association of Canada in an interview with CBC News. Greg McConnell, a former veteran Transport Canada inspector for 25 years, estimated the regulator suspends fewer than 12 certificates a year, and does not do so lightly. "The fact that Transportation Canada has taken action so quickly shows there was obviously a glaring discrepancy," said McConnell. "It's generally because there's not one little thing but a bunch of things that have completely gone awry." Jock Williams, a retired Royal Canadian Air Force pilot and aviation expert, did not see Transport Canada's move as necessarily punitive, however. "Nothing has been proven," he said, adding that it's unclear whether the deficiencies were accidental or made knowingly. Whittling down the causes The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is an independent government body that investigates accidents and makes safety recommendations regarding aviation, rail, marine and pipelines. It's investigating the cause of the Dec. 13 crash. The TSB has already ruled out engine failure, saying both engines were running until the turboprop hit the ground. "When an aircraft only flies a mile after takeoff, there are only three or four possible explanations and none of them are particularly good," said Williams. "One immediately thinks about frost or ice on the wings. They think of an aircraft overload, fuel contamination." Length of suspension unknown How long West Wind's suspension lasts depends on how quickly the company responds to and fixes the "deficiencies" flagged by Transport Canada. "The suspension could be indefinite or it could be over in a matter of a few hours," said Williams. With no income coming to the company, "their motivation is going to be to take action to get that suspension terminated," Williams added. On Saturday, West Wind's bookings page was directing customers to the website of its codeshare partner Transwest Air. Prior incidents West Wind said in a release Friday that it had already voluntarily grounded all of its flying operations before Transport Canada ordered it to. It's not the first time the company clipped its own wings. In September 2016, the company temporarily grounded its fleet because of what it called "potential administrative discrepancies" in its training records. In early 2015, the TSB investigated an incident of smoke in the cabin of the same West Wind turboprop that crashed in Fond-du-Lac. Investigators found that the smoke came from "counterfeit or unapproved" light bulbs installed on the plane. "West Wind Aviation has been in existence since 1983 and until now has never had an accident involving a serious injury," the company said in a Saturday release. Inspections have been reduced McConnell, the former inspector, said Friday's suspension of West Wind "should be a lesson" to his former employer, Transport Canada. He said the regulator has gradually reduced the number of inspections it does of airlines. "We used to visit every operator on an annual basis. That no longer happens," he said. "That yearly requirement then went to a three-year requirement, then to a five-year requirement. Now operational visits are generally reactive after something bad happens." Neither West Wind Aviation nor Transport Canada responded to questions on Saturday. The company said in a news release that it will work with Transport Canada to review its procedures and processes "to enhance the safety of our passengers and crews." .
  7. . Transport Canada suspends West Wind flights Regulator cites deficiencies after inspection of aircraft that crashed in Fond-du-Lac Fri Dec 22, 2017 - CBC News Transport Canada has suspended West Wind Aviation's Air Operator Certificate, citing public safety concerns, and all the company's flights will be grounded. The move comes on the heels of a West Wind crash in Fond-du-Lac, Sask., on Dec. 13, in which several of the 25 people onboard sustained serious injuries. Transport Canada said it had identified deficiencies in the company's Operational Control System, which ensures that the company's everyday actions comply with safety requirements for things like dispatching personnel and aircraft. It conducted its investigation between Dec. 18 and 20. The Transportation Safety Board said earlier this week it had ruled out engine failure as the cause of last week's crash, but that the cause remains unknown. West Wind aims to resume flights West Wind Aviation had pre-emptively and voluntarily suspended all of its flying operations over the past 10 days, according to the company. "We are working diligently to resolve any issues, with the aim of restarting operations as soon as possible," the company said in a press release. Transport Canada says it will monitor West Wind Aviation's actions as it works to comply with aviation safety regulations, and continue to support the Transportation Safety Board of Canada's investigation into the crash. Neither West Wind Aviation nor Transport Canada were immediately available for comment. .
  8. Swoop??

    . WestJet has a radical — and risky — plan to get you on its planes The Canadian carrier is starting a war with low-cost, no frills upstarts while also wooing the wealthy Fri Dec 8, 2017 - Bloomberg News by Justin Bachman and Frederic Tomesco Out in western Canada, the airline world is about to watch a unique business experiment. If it goes as planned, in a few years there will be a new favourite carrier battling for your airfare dollars, regardless of whether you’re a penny pincher or a rich banker. WestJet Airlines Ltd., which flies Boeing Co. 737s in Canada much the same way Southwest Airlines Co. does in the U.S., is embarking on a radical shift to become a global-network airline, replete with fancy foods, plush beds up front and nine new, spiffier airport lounges and many more top-dollar business customers. Simultaneously, it’s launching an ultra-low-cost airline called Swoop to pursue those with the smallest budgets. This “high-end, low-end” strategy comes as airlines the world over struggle to combat the grand ambitions of lower-cost rivals. The response has largely been defensive, with new fare classes or new airlines that have lower cost structures. WestJet had a different idea. Next June, the carrier will debut no-frills Swoop, which is modeled on ultra-low-cost carrier Ryanair Holdings Plc. Swoop is squeezing 189 seats onto its 10 Boeing 737-800s, which is 21 more seats than WestJet flies on the same airplane. It’s simultaneously preparing for the first of 10 new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which arrive in January 2019, to fly to Europe and Asia, with options for 10 more of the large planes. WestJet’s attempt to strengthen its position comes amid a collective bargaining push by employees. In May, its pilots voted to unionize, as did pilots at its regional carrier, Encore, five months later. Multiple unions are looking to organize other groups at WestJet, including flight attendants and mechanics. These efforts are likely to mean higher labour costs. With that threat hanging over its bottom line, not to mention the cost of long-haul flights, the planned expansion with Swoop and long-haul jets could endanger what is currently a profitable franchise. WestJet executives, who are quick to boast of 50 consecutive quarters of profit, said they’re not worried. “We just got to the point where the single brand can no longer fulfill all of the missions,” Chief Executive Officer Gregg Saretsky said Wednesday, during an investor presentation. He acknowledged the skeptical feedback his airline has received over Swoop: “Many people are scratching their heads and wondering if that will work.” “We’ve heard concerns about execution and our ability to successfully move upmarket and downmarket at the same time,” he said. “Our view is that the network that Swoop builds will be incremental to the WestJet network, rather than cannibalizing it,” .
  9. . American Crews Get Christmas Double Time Wed Dec 06, 2017 - AVweb American Airlines will pay double time to pilots who take flights that, due to a computer glitch, may have been left without cockpit crews over Christmas. The glitch allowed most American pilots to take time off over the holidays, which obviously wasn’t workable. American and the Allied Pilots Association worked out the deal, which will only apply to the flights that were left without crews because of the glitch, and the bonus payment is retroactive to Nov. 28. The airline put a brave face on the costly mistake. “We are pleased to report that together, American and the Allied Pilots Association have put that worry to rest to make sure our flights will operate as scheduled,” the airline said in a news release. “By working together, we can assure customers that among the many stresses of the season, worrying about a canceled flight won’t be one of them. In short, if Santa is flying, so is American.” When it discovered the mistake, American tried to fill the gaps with relief pilots and by luring back pilots who took advantage of the glitch with a 50 percent bonus to take some of the flights. The union said that violated its contract and the new agreement was reached at double the normal money. Up to 15,000 flights could have been affected by the error, according to the union. .
  10. . America Crowns a New Pollution King Power plants have been the biggest source of U.S. CO2 emissions since the 1970s—until now. Mon Dec 4, 2017 - Bloomberg News By Tom Randall For the first time in 40 years, power plants are no longer the biggest source of U.S. greenhouse gas pollution. That dubious distinction now belongs to the transport sector: cars, trucks, planes, trains and boats. The big reversal didn’t happen because transportation emissions have been increasing. In fact, since 2000 the U.S. has experienced the flattest stretch of transportation-related pollution in modern record keeping, according to data compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The big change has come from the cleanup of America’s electric grid. The chart below shows carbon dioxide emissions from transportation exceeding those from electricity production in 2016 for the first time since 1978. The pollution gap has continued to widen further in 2017, according to a Bloomberg analysis. Electricity use in the U.S. hasn’t declined much in the last decade, but it’s being generated from cleaner sources. A dramatic switch away from coal, the dirtiest fuel, is mostly responsible for the drop in emissions. Coal power has declined by more than a third in the last decade, according to the EIA, while cleaner natural gas has soared more than 60 percent. Wind and solar power are also increasingly sucking the greenhouse gases out of U.S. electricity production. This is good news, and not just because carbon dioxide emissions are the biggest contributor to global climate change. The shift to cleaner energy also has immediate local improvements to health by reducing the burden of asthma, cancer and heart disease. The transportation sector is also entering a critical period of reformation. Cars are becoming more efficient under aggressive pollution rules passed under President Barack Obama, but that’s so far been offset by an ever-rising American appetite for SUVs, crossovers and pickup trucks. Even the nation’s clean-air policies could soon change. The Trump administration is considering rolling back the toughest fuel-efficiency standards, which are set to take effect in the early 2020s. Investments in electric cars may soon begin to do to the transportation sector what wind and solar have done to the power sector: turn the pollution curve upside down. The price of battery packs has been plummeting by about 8 percent a year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and electric cars are now projected to become cheaper, more reliable, and more convenient than their gasoline-powered equivalents around the world by the mid-2020s. When the electrification of the U.S. auto fleet begins in earnest, pollution from the two biggest energy sectors—electricity and transportation—may ultimately converge. Those electric cars are going draw their power from the grid. .
  11. . Ontario’s chance of meeting electric vehicle targets by 2020 is ‘zero,’ analyst says Sun Dec 3, 2017 - The Globe and Mail by Allison Jones Ontario is envisioning a future in which millions of electric vehicles are on the roads, but analysts predict consumer uptake will remain far off the government target for 2020, despite tens of millions of dollars in subsidies. The Liberal government has been encouraging electric vehicle sales by doling out $75-million in rebates to vehicle owners, offering various other incentives and programs, installing a network of charging stations and spending $1-million to open an electric-vehicle education centre. But that so far hasn't translated into vast numbers of vehicles. The official data for 2017 aren't yet available, but at the end of last year, electric vehicles represented less than 1 per cent of all passenger vehicle sales in Ontario. In just two years, by 2020, the government hopes to see that number increase to 5 per cent. It can't be done, analysts say. "The chances of meeting it aren't low, they're zero," auto industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers said. "In the auto sector, all roads lead to electric. It just happens to be that the road to serious acceptance of them is probably at least 2030 and more likely 2040, 2050." Tony Faria, an auto industry analyst at the University of Windsor, agrees that Ontario won't meet its goal by 2020. "We will almost assuredly get to 5-per-cent electric vehicles purchased or on the road at some point in time, it's just not going to be in the next couple of years," he said. "We're really wedded to our gasoline-driven vehicles because of the flexibility they give us distance-wise, amazing availability of where you can fill up and so on." Range anxiety – a fear that an electric vehicle would run out of charge somewhere far from a charging station – is cited by analysts, the industry and government as one of the main reasons more people haven't yet switched to electric vehicles. The government announced in July, 2016, that it would spend $20-million to build a network of 500 public charging stations along highways and at public places across the province by March 31, 2017. But now, more than eight months after that self-imposed deadline, just two-thirds of the stations are in use. 'To increase sales, the government offers rebates of up to $14,000 for electric vehicles that cost up to $150,000.' .
  12. OMG NO FOOD (⸮)

    . Air Transat slammed, fined for handling of hours-long tarmac delay Thu Nov 30, 2017 - Canadian Press by Jordan Press Air Transat failed its passengers during a sweltering, hours-long ordeal aboard two of its grounded aircraft this summer, a federal agency ruled Thursday as it fined the airline $295,000 and ordered it to cover the out-of-pocket expenses of affected passengers. The Canadian Transportation Agency said Air Transat broke a tariff agreement with customers that governs when passengers can be let off a flight due to a tarmac delay. The agency is ordering the airline to tighten its rules about when passengers are allowed off planes during delays, what services it has to provide, and ensure that its pilots actually know the wording in the agreements. It is also ordering the airline to pay $295,000 either to the agency in the form of a fine, or to the passengers themselves. The airline said in a statement that it will comply with the agency's orders, and plans to offer each affected passenger $500, but that compensation will take into consideration anything already paid. Thursday's report comes almost four months after the two flights – one from Rome, the other from Brussels – sat on the tarmac in Ottawa for almost five and six hours, respectively, with passengers not allowed to disembark. One of the two aircraft ran out of fuel during the delay, then lost power, causing the air conditioning system to shut down. During two days of hearings in August, passengers described how tensions mounted as temperatures rose, a child threw up on board one plane and ultimately a passenger on the Brussels flight called 911, attracting widespread media attention. A number of people who were on board the planes told the hearings they would have given anything to be allowed to disembark, even if it meant additional delays or a two-hour drive back to Montreal. Weather caused the two flights to be diverted to Ottawa on July 31, along with about 20 other planes – an incident that appeared to tax airport resources in the national capital to their limit. Fuelling teams, for instance, ran out of fuel on several occasions. Among the planes was an Airbus 380, the largest to land that day. The need to find a place to park that Air Emirates flight forced crews to move the two Air Transat planes to the airport taxiway, where they could be neither refuelled nor serviced. As a result, they ended up being among the last planes to be refuelled. The airline argued it shouldn't be held liable for what happened, blaming the airport authority and refuellers among others for the delays. Transportation agency members agreed Air Transat was not solely responsible for the delays, prodding airports, refuelling companies and others involved in getting planes on and off the ground to work harder to avoid a repeat occurrence. Despite that, the agency said the extraordinary situation didn't relieve Air Transat from its commitment to its customers. 'Air Transat's tariff agreement with customers is too broad and gives pilots too much discretion about when to let passengers leave an airplane,' .
  13. WestJet Back in the news

    . 'It hurts us': Air Canada, WestJet under fire for their reasons behind Puerto Rico flight cancellations Both airlines have blamed airport damage but the San Juan airport says it's just fine Sun Nov 26, 2017 - CBC News By Sophia Harris WestJet and Air Canada have both cited hurricane damage at Puerto Rico's San Juan airport as a reason why they cancelled flights to the island into 2018. But Puerto Rico's tourism industry says the message is misleading and wants it to stop. That's because while Hurricane Maria devastated the island on Sept. 20, its main airport started welcoming back international carriers by Sept. 29. "It hurts us if the message out there is the airport is not operational," says Miguel Quinones, with the government-run Puerto Rico Tourism Company. "The airport is fine." However, that's not the message Ed Tiessen got from WestJet after it notified him on Oct. 17 that it had cancelled his round-trip flight to San Juan departing on Nov. 24. To celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, he and his wife, who live in Summerland, B.C., had booked a Caribbean cruise sailing from Puerto Rico's capital city. After getting the cancellation notice, Tiessen discovered San Juan flights on other airlines had shot up to prices he couldn't afford. WestJet had offered a refund, but he asked the carrier to instead rebook him at no extra cost on a partner airline still flying to the city. "I thought that was very reasonable," Tiessen says. "I just wanted to go on my cruise." But WestJet turned him down and said the cancellation was out of its control. "I'm incredibly disappointed with WestJet," .
  14. . Nebraska regulators approve TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline Mon Nov 20, 2017 - The Globe & Mail Nebraska regulators voted their approval on Monday for TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL pipeline route through the state, lifting the last big regulatory obstacle for the long-delayed project that U.S. President Donald Trump wants built. The 3-2 decision by the Nebraska Public Service Commission helps clear the way for the proposed 1,179-mile (1,897-km) pipeline linking Canada's Alberta oil sands to U.S. refineries, but is likely to be challenged in court by the project's opponents who say it poses an environmental risk. .
  15. WestJet Back in the news

    . 'This is bunk': WestJet apologizes for misleading passengers about why it cancelled flights Airline says it made a mistake when it told customers the Turks and Caicos airport wasn't open Sat Nov 18, 2017 - CBC News By Sophia Harris In response to a CBC News investigation, WestJet has admitted it mistakenly told passengers that hurricane-related airport restrictions had forced it to cancel Turks and Caicos flights. The airline now says it actually cancelled flights from Oct. 11 to Dec. 16 for business reasons. It's currently contacting affected passengers to apologize. Patricia Mombourquette of Edmonton says she never quite believed WestJet's original explanation. "I was suspicious and didn't feel that they were being upfront at all." She and three friends were set to fly from Toronto to Turks and Caicos on Nov. 8 to celebrate her 50th birthday at a resort. On Oct. 15, the four women learned WestJet had cancelled their flight and would refund their money. Mombourquette complained to the airline and asked for added compensation. She was denied. Instead, WestJet told her in an email that "due to damage caused by Hurricane Irma," which struck in early September, it had to cancel flights to Turks and Caicos. WestJet said its hands were tied because the local airport authority had instructed the airline to suspend service until Dec. 15. Mombourquette thought the explanation didn't add up because numerous other airlines were still flying to Turks and Caicos, including Air Canada, which booked her and her friends after WestJet cancelled. "It's very suspect that WestJet is the only airline being told not to fly in," she said. "I wanted to respond and say, 'This is bunk.'" "Don't blame it on the hurricane and don't blame it on the airport authority. That's just not fair," .