Yearly Archives: 2010

Federal Aeronautics Powers Reaffirmed

“Air Transportation is an indispensable part of modern life. Yet as our dependence on aircraft has grown, the demands of aviation have increasingly collided with other interests.”

These words with which Chief Justice McLachlin began her judgment in Quebec (Attorney General) v. Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, 2010 SCC 39 summarized the issue before her.

Bernard Laferriere and Sylvie Gervais owned a wooded lot near the City of Shawinigan.  In 1998, they cleared part of their lot and built a grass airstrip.  But the new aerodrome was situated in a designated agricultural region and the Quebec Agricultural Lands Protection Commission ordered the aerodrome to be closed.   These facts set up the classic Canadian constitutional confrontation between the power of the …

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Supreme Court of Canada Will Not Hear Appeal of Pilot’s Criminal Conviction

In a previous newsletter, we wrote about the conviction of a Manitoba pilot (Mark Tayfel), who was found guilty of one count of criminal negligence causing death, four counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, and one count of dangerous operation of an aircraft.  We then wrote about the Manitoba Court of Appeal’s decision to overturn the convictions for criminal negligence but to uphold the conviction for dangerous operation of an aircraft.

In July 2010, Mr. Tayfel commenced an application before the Supreme Court of Canada, asking that the Court hear a further appeal on whether the Manitoba Court of Appeal made an error when it upheld the conviction for dangerous operation of an aircraft.  The Supreme Court released its decision today …

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Canada… or Kanawha?

In early November, the HMCS Fredericton (a Canadian Frigate) was involved in a minor collision with the USNS Kanawha.

A few days earlier, there was a different collision between Canada and Kanawha – in the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. The Appeals Court decided that the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, West Virginia did have jurisdiction to hear a lawsuit regarding the crash of a Canadian aircraft flown by a Canadian pilot (with one Canadian passenger on board).


The Mooney M20C aircraft, based at Buttonville Airport (just north of Toronto), was en route to the Bahamas with a Canadian pilot and passenger. Due to poor weather, the aircraft made an unscheduled stop in West Virginia. Pilot and passenger spent the …

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British Columbia Aviation Council 2010 Conference and Silver Wings Banquet

Congratulations to the British Columbia Aviation Council for a successful 2010 Conference and Silver Wings Awards Banquet!  As always, the highlight of the Banquet was the presentation of the Council’s annual industry awards and aviation student scholarships.  We were especially pleased to watch the inaugural presentation of the Alexander Holburn Beaudin & Lang LLP Aviation Scholarship, in memory of Ernie Alexander, Q.C.

The late Ernie Alexander was a founding member of our firm and a former Royal Canadian Air Force pilot and instructor.  For a very interesting story about one of Mr. Alexander’s flying adventures, click here.

This scholarship will be awarded every year (on the basis of merit and financial need) to a student enrolled in an Aviation or Aerospace program at …

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NY Times Reports Legal Action Started by Qantas Over A380 Engines

The New York Times reported today that Qantas Airways has filed a preliminary action in the Australian federal court.  The action gives Qantas the option of proceeding with litigation if the airline is not satisfied with an offer of compensation from Rolls-Royce, the manufacturer of the engine.

Click here to view the NY Times article. (*photo courtesy of Tim Beach)…

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Legal Forum Selection Update: Supreme Court of Canada Decision on Leave To Appeal

In a previous post, we wrote about an Ontario judge’s decision to not enforce a forum selection clause in an aircraft engine lease agreement, which stated that disputes related to the agreement were to be decided according to Arizona law and resolved by the courts in Arizona.  We then wrote about a subsequent appeal by Honeywell Inc. (the owner of the engine), in which the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the Ontario judge’s decision and decided that the dispute should be resolved in Arizona.

Expedition Helicopters Inc. then sought to have a further appeal heard before the Supreme Court of Canada.  The Supreme Court of Canada decided today that it will not hear the appeal.  Accordingly, the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision stands and this matter will be …

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CTA Ruling on Allergies: Buffer Zone Update

In a previous post, we wrote about a January 6, 2010 decision of the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) on a complaint by two passengers who claimed to have experienced difficulties relating to peanut and nut allergies when travelling with Air Canada. Although the passengers were found to be persons with a disability, the CTA found that they did not encounter obstacles to their mobility and declined to ban the service of nuts and nut products on aircraft. However, the CTA did find that an appropriate accommodation was to separate the passengers by seating them in an “exclusion or buffer zone”.

 What was not resolved in the decision was the length of time which would constitute reasonable advance notification by …

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Airport Security Update: TSA Takes Over Watch Lists and More Body Scan Controversy

The next phase of the United States Transportation Security Administration’s Secure Flight Program has begun for all tickets purchased after September 15, 2010 and for all flights departing after November 1, 2010 for domestic US flights or flights to/from the US.  Along with the usual information required by airlines, passengers are now required to provide their birth dates and genders when making flight reservations.

Meanwhile, the controversy over full body scanners his been re-ignited by pilots’ unions, a lawsuit and a YouTube video.

TSA Takes over Watch Lists 

Passengers flying within the US are now required to provide their full names as they appear on government IDs, their dates of birth, their genders and redress numbers (if applicable – a redress number …

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Canadian Ministers Announce New Aviation Security Measures

The Ministers of Transport and Public Safety today announced new aviation security measures in response to the recent discovery of two mail bombs originating from Yemen.  Pursuant to an Interim Order, which came into effect at noon yesterday (November 8, 2010), passengers are not permitted to transport office printer or toner cartridges (weighing 16 ounces or more) in checked bags on any flights departing from Canadian airports.

Passengers travelling to the United States are also not permitted to travel with these cartridges in their carry-on bags.  In addition, air carriers are prohibited from transporting mail or air cargo from Yemen (or Somalia) to Canada.  The Interim Order is to be in place “as long as it takes to ensure the security of …

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NY Times Reports 3 Airlines Ground A380’s

The New York Times is reporting that 3 airlines have grounded their Airbus A380 aircraft today after an engine on a Qantas aircraft suffered an uncontained engine failure shortly after takeoff from Singapore.

Click here to link to the article.

*photo courtesy of Tim Beach

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