On October 27, 2011, an aircraft crash-landed near the Vancouver International Airport. Six of the surviving passengers commenced a lawsuit against the aircraft operator seeking to recover damages arising from their injuries. The passengers were flying to Kelowna to attend an annual retreat organized by an organization named “The Executive Committee” (“TEC”). The TEC is a member-based community of over 900 chief executives, entrepreneurs, and business owners from across Canada. The passengers were founders and CEOs of various companies. TEC provides peer advice and support, through a “safe refuge” for executives to discuss work and personal issues. Each TEC member is required to attend meetings and pay annual dues for membership. The passengers’ dues were all paid by their companies. …Keep reading
Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act (the “Act”), had its 2nd reading in the House of Commons on June 19, 2017. The Act consists of a package of amendments to the Canada Transportation Act, S.C. 1996, c. 10, as well as other pieces of legislation. However, its main focus is on the introduction of a new airline passenger bill of rights. Other key amendments include a wider definition of “Canadian” to allow for an increase in foreign investment in air service providers, as well as provisions to promote joint ventures between air service providers while ensuring healthy competition in the industry. Transport Canada has stated that the purpose of the legislation is to ensure a better …Keep reading
On July 1, 2017, Transport Canada published draft amendments to the CARs regarding pilot hours of work and rest periods (click here for proposed regulations). According to Transport Canada, the new regulations will improve passenger and flight crew safety as they are based on the latest science regarding fatigue and will bring Canada in line with international standards and best practices.
The draft regulations are the product of over six years of work and consultation. In 2010, a joint government/industry working group studied the issue, relying on the assistance of a scientific expert in sleep and performance. Subsequently, comments were sought on three separate occasions and various meetings held with interested stakeholders.
The proposed regulations would apply to CARs …Keep reading
On March 24, 2015, the passengers and crew of Germanwings Flight No. 9525 (from Barcelona to Dusseldorf) were the victims of a tragic aviation incident. Shortly after take-off, the pilot left the cockpit. The co-pilot (Mr. Lubitz) locked the cockpit door and initiated a steep descent into the French Alps. Despite attempts by the crew to gain entry to the cockpit and communicate with Mr. Lubitz, the plane crashed, killing everybody on board. The incident sparked international concern, and the incident resulted in the implementation of various safety measures across the globe.
The French Aviation Investigation Authority (the BEA) investigated the accident. The BEA report revealed that Mr. Lubitz suffered from a prior history of depression and psychological disorders. Shortly …Keep reading
In November, 2009, an aircraft operated by Pel-Air Aviation Pty Ltd. (“Pel-Air”) flew on a charter flight from Samoa to evacuate a patient and her husband to Melbourne. Six people were on board the aircraft, including Ms. Karen Casey, a nurse employed by Care Flight (NSW), and Dr. David Helm. The aircraft was scheduled to refuel at Norfolk Island but poor weather forced the pilot to ditch the aircraft in the sea. Everyone on board the aircraft survived, but Ms. Casey and Dr. Helm were both seriously injured and commenced an action against Pel-Air in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
As the case involved an international flight, the Montreal Convention applied to their claims for damages. At trial, …Keep reading
On July 10, 2012, two Yukon Government employees were being transported by helicopter during a project involving the collection of grizzly bear hair samples. Regrettably, the employees were injured during an attempted landing. As a result of the accident, they commenced a lawsuit against Horizon Helicopters, the owner and operator of the helicopter.
In many jurisdictions across Canada, Workers’ Compensation legislation provides a “statutory bar”, which prevents one worker from pursuing a lawsuit against another worker or against an employer when he or she is injured while in the course and scope of employment (i.e. while working). Instead, the worker must apply for WCB benefits. Under Yukon legislation, a worker may choose whether to apply for WCB benefits or pursue …Keep reading
On March 24, 2015, a Germanwings Airbus A320 crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 souls on board. Following this tragedy, the French accident investigation authority (BEA) commenced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the loss. On March 13, 2016 the BEA released their final report, concluding that the First Officer, while alone on the flight deck, deliberately caused the crash by modifying the autopilot settings and locking the flight deck door to prevent the Captain from returning. He was unresponsive to all requests for access by the Captain and all communication attempts from air traffic control. This tragedy identified some risks associated with having only one crew member on a secure flight deck.
Pursuant to the Canadian Aviation …Keep reading
There has been much interest lately in the development of two new players in the Canadian aviation scene. Canada Jetlines Ltd. and NewLeaf Travel Company are hoping to capture a piece of the commercial air travel pie by competing for passengers looking for low-budget, no-frills air travel. NewLeaf has already begun seat sales, with service to many smaller Canadian centres as well as the Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto areas. However, no new airline enterprise can get off the ground without a bit of turbulence. Both companies have faced early challenges while navigating Canada’s regulatory landscape.
NewLeaf’s first flights touched down on July 25, 2016. This came after several months of delay, stemming from a Canadian Transportation Agency (“CTA”) review …Keep reading
Canada has the highest volume of seaplane operations in the world. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (“TSB”) estimates that in the Vancouver Harbour alone, about 300,000 passengers travel on about 33,000 seaplane flights each year (see link). The Canadian Aviation Regulations (“CARs”) currently require that a personal floatation device (“PFD”) for each passenger be carried onboard the aircraft. However, occupants are not required to wear the PFD during the flight. Additionally, commercial seaplane pilots are not required to have underwater egress training, which teaches potentially life-saving strategies for exiting a submerged aircraft.
In November 2009, the pilot of a commercial seaplane initiated a left hand turn shortly after take-off from Saturna Island, British Columbia. During the turn, …Keep reading
There are many ways in which passengers book air travel. Some use travel agents or tour companies, while others choose to book their travel online. Travel agents ought to be well accustomed to leaving adequate time between flights. When booking online, travellers are generally warned about tight connection times. In some cases, however, the question of timing could be due to time-sensitive commitments at the destination. For example, many people schedule short stop-overs for business meetings, while others fly to cities to connect onto cruises or other holiday packages. How much extra time should a person give themselves in these circumstances? The Quebec Small Claims Court recently dealt with this very issue.Keep reading