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  1. . 'Ashamed' Sunwing pilot pleads guilty to impaired charge Maid found an empty 26-ounce bottle of vodka in Miroslav Gronych's hotel room Tue Mar 21, 2017 - CBC News By Meghan Grant After emptying a 26-ounce bottle of vodka in his hotel room, Sunwing pilot Miroslav Gronych was so drunk when he stumbled onto the airplane he was supposed to fly from Calgary to Regina that his wing pin was on upside down and he appeared to pass out in the captain's chair. Gronych, 37, a foreign national from Slovakia in Canada on a work visa, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to having care and control of an aircraft with a blood alcohol level over .08. He was arrested and charged on Dec. 31, 2016. His lawyer said Gronych is addicted to alcohol and had already begun treatment in Saskatoon, where he had been living. Gronych showed up at court on Tuesday in a navy suit and red tie. He sat in the prisoner's box and offered a tearful apology. "I feel very ashamed," said Gronych. "I feel a lot of remorse." The married father of two young children said he hasn't had a drink since the day of his arrest. 'A crime of dramatic proportion' That morning, Gronych flew into the Calgary airport at 12:48 a.m. He was scheduled to report back at 6 a.m. for a 7 a.m. flight scheduled to make stops in Regina and Winnipeg before continuing to Cancun, Mexico, with 99 passengers and six flight crew on board. "This was a crime of dramatic proportion," said prosecutor Rose Greenwood. "The last thing the public should have to do is question the sobriety of the pilots." The details of Gronych's crime come from an agreed statement of facts read in court on Tuesday. About an hour after he was supposed to report in, Gronych's second-in-command — the first officer — called Sunwing's Operations Control Centre (OCC). The OCC tracked down the missing pilot, who told them he'd gotten lost after going through security and couldn't find the gate. Gronych told to get off plane Gronych staggered onto the airplane about 7:05 a.m. Airport and airline employees he'd passed along the way had already tracked down the first officer to voice their concerns after noting the pilot was slurring his words and couldn't walk in a straight line. On the plane, Gronych took about 30 seconds to hang up his jacket. The first officer took Gronych to the bridge and told him he seemed impaired and had to get off the plane. "He seemed very nonchalant and said 'OK, if that's what you feel,'" said the first officer. Glassy eyes, slurred speech While Gronych's second-in-command was contacting the OCC with an update, the drunk pilot returned to the cockpit and appeared to pass out with his face against the window. When he woke up, co-workers told him to leave on his own or be forcibly removed by police. Gronych walked off the airplane, and gate agents held him at the end of the bridge until police arrived. Passengers were told the pilot had suddenly fallen ill, but many had seen him stumble in and believed he was drunk. Police noted Gronych had slurred speech, a tired look and glassy and pink eyes. He smelled of alcohol, and his pilot wing pin was fastened upside down. Prosecutor wants pilot jailed As police escorted Gronych through the airport, they noticed he wasn't able to walk in a straight line, and he staggered when standing. A replacement captain was found, and the plane left at 8:30 a.m. In his Delta Airport Hotel room, a maid found an empty 26-ounce bottle of vodka. Gronych's intention was to book off the flight as he was feeling ill the night before, according to his account of the morning in question. He drank some of the vodka, fell asleep and woke up to a phone call from his employer. 'Lacked the willpower not to drink' Gronych drank the rest of the vodka and headed to the airport. "There is no reason he can give as to why he decided to drink the alcohol," said Gronych's lawyer, Susan Karpa. "He lacked the willpower not to drink." Crown prosecutor Rosalind Greenwood has asked provincial court Judge Anne Brown to sentence Gronych to a year in jail. Gronych breached the trust of the airline, passengers and crew, she argued in her sentencing submissions. Though there was "ample opportunity" for Gronych to change his mind, the pilot consumed an "incredible amount of alcohol" instead of going to bed. "He had literally an awesome responsibility," said Greenwood. Seeking treatment for addiction The Crown wasn't able to find any Canadian cases of pilots charged and sentenced under the Criminal Code. In her research, Greenwood told the judge she was only able to find a U.S. example of pilots being intoxicated and charged. In that case, the captain was sentenced to five years in prison despite his blood alcohol being much less than Gronych's. Gronych realized he had a drinking problem in 2010, said Karpa. He didn't seek help at the time, but since he was charged, Gronych has begun treatment in Canada and has committed to continuing in Slovakia. "He will do everything he needs to do to conquer the addiction," said Karpa. Gronych's wife says her family has been "bombarded by the media" and faced a "public shaming" that feels like he's already faced punishment for his crime. Karpa has proposed a three- to six-month sentence. Gronych will begin serving his sentence on Tuesday, but the judge hasn't yet decided how long that jail term will be. Judge Brown will deliver her decision on April 3. .
  2. Why indeed? . .
  3. . Air Canada denies U.S. security chief's assertion that its jets have been focus of any terror plots Fri Mar10, 2017 - The Globe & Mail by Robert Fife and Michelle Zilio OTTAWA — U.S. Homeland Secretary John Kelly says there have been countless attempts by terrorists to blow up passenger jets operated by Air Canada and U.S. airlines – plots that have been stopped because of intelligence work by U.S. and Canadian intelligence agencies. “The most significant threat is a terrorist attack on aviation. That seems to be their Stanley Cup playoff. They want to knock down airplanes and they are trying every day to do it,” Mr. Kelly told CTV’s Power Play after meeting with senior Trudeau cabinet ministers on Parliament Hill. “I can’t count the number of aircraft that have not been blown up in flight, whether they are United [Airlines] or Air Canada … but I can tell you there are dozens and dozens of plots ongoing all the time.” Air Canada issued a strong denial that the airline had been the focus of any terrorist plot. “Air Canada’s policy is generally not to discuss issues of security. However there is no truth whatsoever in the suggestion that Air Canada may have been involved in such threats,” spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick told The Globe and Mail. Mr. Kelly would not provide further details, saying the information was classified but he added that Canada and the U.S. are considered “hard targets” by terrorists because of the security measures the two countries have put in place and the seamless co-operation on the sharing of information, including on passengers. “We take security both here in the Western Hemisphere as well as in ports of entry overseas – airports that fly directly to our countries. We take it very, very seriously,” he said. “But we have to be on guard and I am not an alarmist.” "Whatever they tell the press is their business but no one is stopped to be checked for their religion or their political opinion,” .
  4. . WestJet reports February load factor of 85.2 per cent Airline increases traffic by 5.2 per cent CALGARY, March 9, 2017 /CNW/ - WestJet today announced February 2017 traffic results with a load factor of 85.2 per cent, an increase of 2.0 percentage points year over year. Revenue passenger miles (RPMs), or traffic, increased 5.2 per cent year over year, and capacity, measured in available seat miles (ASMs), grew 2.7 per cent over the same period. The airline flew a record 1.8 million guests in February, a year-over-year increase of 5.8 per cent or approximately 100,000 additional guests. "We are pleased with our continued strong traffic growth as we achieved a 200 basis point improvement in load factor year over year and flew a record number of guests while celebrating WestJet's 21st birthday," said WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky. "I want to thank our more than 12,000 WestJetters for continuing to deliver a safe and caring guest experience." February 2017 traffic results Feb 2017 Feb 2016 Change Load factor 85.2% 83.2% 2.0 pts ASMs (billions) 2.370 2.308 2.7% RPMs (billions) 2.019 1.919 5.2% YTD 2017 YTD 2016 Change Load factor 82.4% 81.5% 0.9 pts ASMs (billions) 5.023 4.803 4.6% RPMs (billions) 4.141 3.917 5.7% .
  5. . Who wants pizza?': WestJet pilot buys food for stranded Air Canada passengers Air Canada employee tells customers that no food was available at midnight Mon Feb 13, 2017 - CBC News By Stephanie Kinsella A WestJet pilot is earning high praise after paying for pizza for passengers that got rerouted while travelling to St. John's — on an Air Canada flight. "There was outwards applause when it happened," said John Samms, who lives in St. John's. The Air Canada plane that had originated in Toronto couldn't land in St. John's on Feb. 8 due to bad weather and ended up landing in Fredericton. Samms said passengers were told by an Air Canada employee at the airport at midnight that it wasn't possible to get food delivered. "Out of nowhere, a WestJet pilot emerged and said, 'Hey ... I am from WestJet and we do things differently. Who wants pizza?'" Samms told CBC's St. John's Morning Show. "Within 20 minutes to half an hour the pizza had arrived and I think he paid for it out of his own pocket." While Samms isn't sure how many people had a slice, he said at least four extra large pizzas were delivered to the terminal. Air Canada says sorry Samms said it was especially surprising, since all of the passengers were travelling on a competing airline. "That was the irritating part for me ... I had taken it as perhaps a lack of effort on Air Canada staff," said Samms, who had lived in Fredericton for a few years and knew there were at least a few pizza places open. For its part, Air Canada is apologizing to customers, and acknowledging the efforts of the WestJet employee. "Unfortunately the food service was closed but thankfully, a caring customer, an airline employee himself, so truly empathetic to the situation, stepped up," Air Canada said in a statement provided to CBC News. "Clearly we should have done better for our customers." Samms said no airline is perfect all the time, but people remember when staff go out of their way. "A little bit of effort can go a long way when it comes to customer service," he said. CBC News asked WestJet for comment and the mystery pilot's name, but had not heard from that airline as of Monday. .
  6. . Two Canadian CF-18s were on approach to land at Florida airport that hasn’t existed since 2010 Fri Feb 10, 2017 - National Post David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen Two CF-18 fighter jets were preparing for a landing at a Florida airport that closed seven years ago but were warned off by air traffic controllers the facility no longer had a functioning runway. The jets, from Cold Lake, Alta., were in Florida for a training exercise and had planned to land Tuesday at Tyndall Air Force Base just outside Panama City, Fla. But because of a minor in-field emergency at Tyndall, the CF-18s were diverted to Northwest Beaches International also in the same area. The Royal Canadian Air Force jets began their approach on what they believed was Northwest Beaches but instead turned out to be SweetBay, an airport that closed in 2010. SweetBay is now the location of a new housing development, and while a runway still exists on the site, it is no longer functioning. Local residents watched as the fighter jets came in with their wheels down before they aborted their landing. “They spotted I guess it’s SweetBay Airport which is now closed and thought it was International,” Capt. Mat Strong with 4 Wing Cold Lake, explained to My Panhandle, a news outlet that covers the Florida Panhandle region. “They called the tower and asked for confirmation. When they were doing their approach, the tower informed them no, you’re actually at a closed airport.” “They’d be coming in, lining up with the runway, getting prepared to land, maybe even lowering their gear,” added Strong. “And then at several hundred feet before touchdown, they would just basically just fly over the field.” In an email to the Ottawa Citizen, Strong noted that the pilots were unfamiliar with the region and that Northwest Beaches International is only about 10 nautical miles away from the now closed SweetBay airport. Both CF-18s later landed at Northwest Beaches International. .
  7. . Millennials finally fall out of love with Justin Trudeau after he abandons electoral reform For many young voters, Harper's government was all they had ever known. Trudeau was supposed to be different Thu Feb 09, 2017 - CBC News By Robyn Urback Sorry, kids: you've been had. I don't mean to be patronizing — to the extent that I can be patronizing of my own contemporaries — but it appears the millennial fantasy of Liberal exceptionalism when it comes to "the same old politics" in Ottawa is, at last, starting to fade. Thanks, electoral reform. I can only speak anecdotally, of course (the preferred method of data collection among millennials, or didn't you know?!) but it appears young voters are particularly aghast that the prime minister of Canada would break his campaign promise to overhaul the way we hold our elections. While many older voters yawned and mumbled something about "same old Liberals" following the government's about-face last week, the under-35 cohort found themselves seething over the apparent betrayal, vowing in long screeds on Facebook and Reddit to never vote Liberal again. Some went further, launching and signing petitions, emails and letter-writing campaigns to their MPs, while others organized weekend rallies to demonstrate their fury over the broken promise. A new type of politics Their passion was striking, but not altogether surprising: for many young voters, Stephen Harper led the only federal government they had really ever known. For most of their adult or near-adult lives, the government had been run by a bunch of wooden-looking dudes who were reportedly anti-science, anti-marijuana, anti-infrastructure and anti-change. Then along came Justin Trudeau, who talked about climate change, feminism, investing in infrastructure and smoking weed. He was the antithesis of everything they had known about federal politics in Canada, and he vowed to overhaul it completely — right down to the very fundamentals of how we form our governments. They trusted him, gave him their votes and arguably handed him his majority. But now, it's becoming clear that Trudeau's government isn't that different after all. For one, the little entitlements are piling up: the health minister's car service bills, the $200,000 in moving expenses for two Prime Minister's Office staffers, the private dinners with billionaires, the prime minister's luxury island vacation. OK, you vaguely remember some old crotchety family member warning you about Liberal entitlements, but that was supposed to be about the old Liberals. Not these guys. 'That means you're on the hook for your parents' early retirement, kids.' .
  8. . uh-oh, no more Mr. Nice Guy.... Ryanair is a 'victim of its own niceness' Mon Feb 06, 2017 - BBC News Ryanair is reviewing its free second carry-on bag allowance because "abuse" is contributing to flight delays. Finance director Neil Sorahan said Ryanair was a "victim" of its own "niceness" and that sometimes bags three times the allowance were boarded. The comments came as Ryanair said average fares fell faster than "planned" in the third quarter. Average fares dropped 17%, and profits slid 8% to 95m euros (£82m) as the fall in the pound also hit its results. However, passenger numbers in the quarter rose 16% to 29 million, and its aircraft flew at 95% capacity. Ryanair said it was "cautious" about the rest of the financial year, but profits would still meet expectations. 'Too nice' In its results statement the airline said that while its punctuality remained "industry leading" it had struggled this winter due to bad weather and air traffic control strikes. "We are looking at new initiatives to address this problem, including a review of our service policies such as the two free carry-on bags which are the cause of increasing boarding gate delays," it added. Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live Mr Sorahan said some people "abuse" the baggage policies and "we want to make sure that people comply with the sizes that we have. "I've seen bags twice three times the size of what a bag should be going on board and we've just been too nice in relation to that," he said. However, he said getting rid of the second free carry-on bag, which was introduced in 2015, was just one a number of different initiatives the airline was looking at to tackle delays and no decision had been made. 'It expects yields, or average fare per passenger per mile, in the fourth quarter to be down by 15%.' .
  9. . Trudeau abandons pledge to reform Canada’s elections Wednesday’s move was called a “betrayal” by the NDP, who accused Justin Trudeau of lying to progressive voters when he made electoral reform a central promise in the 2015 election. Wed., Feb. 1, 2017 - Toronto Star By Alex Boutilier - Ottawa Bureau Reporter OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau abandoned his promise to reform Canada’s electoral system on Wednesday, claiming no consensus has been found on an alternative system. Only two months after recommitting to electoral reform, Trudeau told newly appointed Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould that replacing the first-past-the-post system was no longer on the table. Trudeau’s decision shelves months of work by a special House of Commons committee, two separate public engagement and consultation exercises, numerous MP town hall meetings and one cross-country ministerial tour. The move was called a “betrayal” by the opposition New Democrats, who accused Trudeau of lying to progressive voters when he made electoral reform a central promise in the 2015 election. “Rather than keep his word to the millions of Canadians who voted for him and the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who engaged in good faith … over this question of how to strengthen and broaden our democracy, Mr. Trudeau chose today instead to spit in their face,” New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen told reporters. In the House of Commons, Trudeau said not only is there no clear consensus on a new voting system — which citizens weren’t actually asked to weigh in on — but the issue itself is not a priority for Canadians. “There is no consensus among Canadians on how, or even whether, to reform our electoral system,” Trudeau said during question period. “We are moving forward in a way that will focus on the things that matter to Canadians. That is what Canadians elected us to do.” But only two months ago, Trudeau told the Star’s editorial board that he heard “loudly and clearly” that “Canadians want a better system of governance, a better system of choosing our governments.” Trudeau went on to say he wouldn’t abandon his promise to replace first-past-the-post — which gave the Liberals a majority government with less than 40 per cent of the popular vote — simply because it was difficult to do. “I make promises because I believe in them,” .
  10. . Eighty birds of prey take flight - on jet to Jeddah Tue Jan 31, 2017 - BBC News A photo of 80 birds of prey on board an airliner in the Middle East has gone viral after being posted on Reddit. Ahmet Yasar, the businessman who posted the image, told the BBC it was taken within the last four weeks by a friend who works as an airline captain. Mr Yasar said the falcons were flying to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia for what is thought to be a hunting trip. "The picture was taken on board an Airbus flying from an unknown origin to Saudi Arabia," Mr Yasar told the BBC. "It is quite common for airlines in the Middle East to transport birds for hunting purposes. In this case each falcon is estimated to be worth about $8,000 (£6,435)," the Turkey-based businessman said. "The picture I posted has gone viral attracting interest from all over the world," he said. "It is thought the birds were to be used to hunt geese." Mr Yasar said the airline captain who took the picture did not want to be named. Welcome on board: Airline policies in relation to birds of prey Qatar Airways: A maximum of six falcons are permitted within economy class. Such is the strength of demand that the airline has a webpage devoted to falcon transportation costs Lufthansa: Announced in 2014 that passengers can take advantage of a patented bird stand, the Falcon Master, which "enables VIPs to bring their falcons on board while keeping them nearby in the cabin during flight" Etihad Airways: First class and business passengers are allowed two falcons per seat, Business Insider reported in 2013, with an extra two birds allowed if an extra seat is purchased. Economy passengers are allowed one bird per seat Emirates: There are no restrictions on the number of pets you can carry on Emirates flights, the airline's website says, although strict rules apply on how they should be caged and on the number of animals some countries will accept The popularity of hunting in the Middle East was clearly seen in December 2015, when gunmen kidnapped at least 27 Qatari hunters - including members of the ruling family - in a desert area of Iraq near the Saudi border. Iraq - like Saudi Arabia - is one of several countries frequented by wealthy practitioners of the ancient sport of falconry as they search for prey that either does not exist in their own countries or which has been almost hunted to extinction there. .
  11. . Multiple dead, 2 arrested after shooting at Quebec City mosque 'Quebec categorically reject this barbaric violence,' says Premier Philippe Couillard Sun Jan 29, 2017 - CBC News Quebec City Police say several people are dead after shots were fired inside a Quebec City mosque on Sunday night during evening prayers. Multiple people are also feared wounded. Their condition is not known at this time. A few dozen people were inside the Islamic cultural centre of Quebec in the Sainte-Foy neighbourhood when the shooting began just after 8 p.m. Quebec City Police Constable Étienne Doyon said mostly men were gathered at the mosque for evening prayers. The director of the centre said at least five people were killed, but that information has not been confirmed by police. Two suspects have been arrested, one of whom was apprehended after a chase that ended near l'île d'Orléans. A large perimeter has been set up around the mosque. 'A Quebecois accent' A witness, who asked to remain anonymous, told CBC's French-language service Radio-Canada that two masked individuals entered the mosque. "It seemed to me that they had a Quebecois accent. They started to fire, and as they shot they yelled, 'Allahu akbar!' The bullets hit people that were praying. People who were praying lost their lives. A bullet passed right over my head," said the witness. "There were even kids. There was even a three-year-old who was with his father." Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said in a tweet that the province is mobilizing to assure the safety of Quebec City residents. He added that "Quebec categorically rejects this barbaric violence" and offered solidarity with the families of victims and wounded. Last June, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a pig's head was left on the doorstep of the mosque. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the shooting a "cowardly attack" and said Canadians were grieving for the victims. .
  12. Air Canada as well: 'Arthur would not say what Air Canada is telling people who are citizens of both Canada and one of the affected countries —'
  13. . ‘Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you,’ man allegedly shouts at Muslim airline employee Robin Rhodes of Worcester, Mass. was charged with assault, unlawful imprisonment, menacing and harassment as hate crimes after attacking a Delta employee at New York’s JFK airport. Fri Jan. 27, 2017 - Toronto Star NEW YORK—A Massachusetts man is accused of attacking a Muslim airline employee at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, allegedly kicking and shouting obscenities at the woman and telling her that President Donald Trump “will get rid of all of you,” authorities said. The Queens District Attorney’s Office said Robin Rhodes, of Worcester, Mass. had arrived from Aruba and was awaiting a connecting flight to Massachusetts Wednesday night when he approached Delta employee Rabeeya Khan, who wears a hijab, while she was sitting in her office. Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said Rhodes came up to the door and went on a profanity-laced tirade, asking the woman if she was praying. Rhodes then allegedly punched the door, which hit the back of Khan’s chair. Khan asked Rhodes what she had done to him and Rhodes replied, “You did nothing.” He then cursed at her and kicked her in the leg, Brown said. When another person tried to calm him down, Brown said Rhodes moved away from the door and Khan ran out of the office. Rhodes followed her, got down on his knees and began to bow down in imitation of a Muslim praying, shouted obscenities and said “Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you. You can ask Germany, Belgium and France about these kind of people. You see what happens,” Brown said. At the time of his arrest, Rhodes allegedly told police, “I guess I am going to jail for disorderly conduct. I couldn’t tell if it was a man or woman because their back was to me and they had something covering their head.” Rhodes was charged with assault, unlawful imprisonment, menacing and harassment as hate crimes. It was not immediately clear if he has an attorney who can comment on the charges. “The bigotry and hatred that the defendant is accused of manifesting and acting upon have no place in a civilized society — especially in Queens County, the most culturally diverse county in the nation,” Brown said. “Crimes of hate will never be tolerated here and when they do, regrettably occur, those responsible will be brought to justice.” .
  14. . Without the trite sanctimony, Trump invokes a sacred duty to raise up America’s magnificence Sat Jan 21 - National Post by Conrad Black With four of his predecessors on the platform with him, President Trump blasted all those responsible for the recent government of the country as self-interested incompetents, compulsive, impotent talkers who had allowed America to decay and to be out-maneuvered by its rivals in the world and to take leave of the interests of the people of modest means and no influence within America. It was a forceful message, powerfully delivered with a completely disciplined attachment to his prepared text. And in a sense, the fact that he was giving the speech having taken the presidential oath was a vindication of some of its content, as it was essentially the message he had been giving for 583 days, since he announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination to almost universal mirth, scorn, and hilarity. The new president was very gracious in personal conversation with the Obamas and the Clintons and more than civil toward the Bushes and the congressional leaders, all of, whom, in both parties, he implicitly rebuked with a severity unprecedented in such addresses. The usual practice of trying to de-escalate the pyrotechnics of the campaign was replaced not only by continued polemics, but by a patriotic and quasi-religious evocation of, in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s parlance, “the forgotten man.” No one can fault him for inconsistency or waffling once the prize was his. Americans often swaddle themselves on official occasions in a patriotism that most foreigners find oppressive, naïve, and often tasteless. In this case, I found it less annoying because patriotic fervour was trumpeted in spite of the graphically highlighted facts of urban blight, civic violence, economic stagnation, official corruption and racial hostility. The new president was not building on America the beautiful, nor rhapsodizing about “alabaster cities … undimmed by human tears.” It was an enduring, almost recessed or somnolent patriotism with the magical powers of a panacea, which, when called forth, would be a balm of Gilead that would anneal the nation and vaporize the many failings that afflict it, which he had just recounted so thoroughly as he laid them at the door of the political class that has governed for the past 30 years, and whose exemplars surrounded him as he spoke. “The only welfare system that works is a job.” .