Alexander Holburn

Canada’s New Low-Cost Airlines: Poised to Take Flight?

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’s Federal Court: Public Safety Trumps Aviation Commercial Interests

Earlier in 2015, the Federal Court heard two days of submissions from Canadian company Rotor Maxx Support Ltd. and the Minister of Transport (click here for link).  The issue: whether the Minister of Transport should be subject to a confidentiality order and injunction preventing the Minister from disclosing that Rotor Maxx had improperly certified helicopter engine and drive train parts.

At the time of the hearing, a temporary confidentiality order was already in place, but Rotor Maxx sought a further, prospective injunction.  To succeed in its injunction application, Rotor Maxx had to demonstrate to the court that there would be irreparable harm to its business that outweighed the Canadian public’s interest in the security of the “flying public”.  In the …

Keep reading

UAVs and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The rise in popularity and use of unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAVs”) has attracted much attention recently. In the last year, we have seen a major uptick in UAV use by private companies. Here in Canada, UAVs have been regulated for some time through federal aviation regulations, but the accessibility of relatively inexpensive UAV technology has led Transport Canada to consider revisiting the regulations to ensure they are keeping pace with current interest and use.

In many industries, both private actors and government bodies are using UAVs in new and innovative ways. Arising from this technological leap forward are a number of new legal issues, particularly in the area of privacy. Pursuant to section 8 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and

Keep reading

Year in Review: CTA Rules on Standing for Discrimination Complaints

In its Decision No. 425-C-A-2014, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) directly addressed a person’s right to bring a complaint of discrimination.

In September 2014, Gábor Lukács filed a complaint with the CTA alleging that Delta Airlines’ practices around the transportation of “large (obese)” persons were discriminatory.  A preliminary issue arose as to Mr. Lukács’ “standing” (or “right”) to bring a complaint on behalf of “large” persons, defined by Delta Airlines policies, as being unable to fit in a single seat.

Mr. Lukács argued that it was not necessary for him to be a member of the discriminated class.  Mr. Lukács argued that under s. 111 of the Air Transportation Regulations, the CTA had jurisdiction to hear a complaint made …

Keep reading

Interpreting “Accident” in Article 17 of the Montreal Convention

In October 2012, we reviewed the Ontario Superior Court of Justice’s decision in Gontcharov v. Canjet, 2012 ONSC 2279. The Gontcharov decision affirmed the Ontario court’s alignment with the U.S. approach to interpreting the word “accident” in Article 17 of the Montreal Convention. Citing the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Air France v. Saks, 470 U.S. 392, 105 S. Ct. 1338 (1985), Ontario’s Justice J. Wilson stated, at para. 47, “The term “accident” used in art. 17 of the Convention has been consistently interpreted to mean “an unexpected or unusual event or happening that is external to the passenger”.”

In January 2015, the U.S. District Court (S.D. Florida) released its decision in Vanderwall v. United Airlines

Keep reading

Year in Review: Airline Liability for “Bumping”

In July 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit released a ruling in the case of Campbell v. Air Jamaica Ltd.  This decision confirmed that a passenger can only recover expenses arising from delay after being “bumped” from a scheduled international flight.

Mr. Campbell, despite being checked-in and issued a boarding pass, was bumped from his flight on to a flight departing the next day.  In addition, he was charged a $150 change fee.  He sued the airline for damages stemming from the bumping, which also allegedly contributed to him suffering a heart attack.  Mr. Campbell claimed that as a result of his bumping and refusal of hotel accommodations, he was forced to sleep outside the …

Keep reading

New Exemptions for Commercial UAV Operators

Transport Canada recently introduced two new exemptions to simplify commercial unmanned air vehicle (UAV) operations and safely integrate them into Canadian airspace.

UAV operations are regulated by Transport Canada under the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) and the Aeronautics Act.  The CARs define a UAV as a “power-driven aircraft, other than a model aircraft, that is designed to fly without a human operator on board”.  “Model aircraft” under the CARs is defined as only those unmanned aircraft weighing less than 35 kg and being used for recreational purposes.

Previously, all UAVs, as defined under CARs, required a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) for their operation, under Section 602.41 of CARs.  A SFOC authorizes the operation of a UAV for a …

Keep reading

New Trial – New Decision: Crash in a Deliberate Single Engine Take-Off is an “Accident”

A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court considered the definition of an “accident” within the meaning of an aviation policy of insurance, with important consequences for insurers and pilots.  Click here for our blog post on this issue, and click here to access a copy of the court decision.…

Keep reading

Amendments to Transport Canada’s Oversight of Private Operators

Background

Following the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s report regarding a 2007 accident involving a private operator aircraft, the Minister of Transport determined that the certification and oversight of private operators were core responsibilities of Transport Canada that should not be held by the private sector.  Accordingly, on May 30, 2014, the Minister announced new regulatory amendments for the oversight of private air operators. These amendments are all-encompassing, affecting requirements regarding:  registration; flight operations; personnel requirements and training programs; emergency equipment; maintenance; cabin safety; and safety management systems.

These amendments have been long anticipated, and since April 1, 2011, Transport Canada has certified private operators through the means of interim orders and the issuance of Temporary Private Operator Certificates (TPOC).…

Keep reading

When is an aerodrome not an aerodrome? When it’s really a boathouse.

On January 9, 2014, the Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal of Mr. Bak, a former real estate developer (click here for decision).

The appeal arose from the owner Bak’s desire to build a boathouse to complement his cottage on Lake Rosseau’s environmentally protected shoreline.  Bak’s application to the Township was rejected.  Initially, Bak appealed that decision through the municipal process.  He later withdrew the appeal, preferring his chances at reclassifying the structure as a federally regulated aerodome, and therefore exempt from the municipal bylaws.  He registered the structure as an aerodrome and continued with its construction, notwithstanding a stop work order from the municipality.

Subsequently, the municipality (Seguin) applied to the Court for an order requiring Bak to …

Keep reading