Yearly Archives: 2011

Federal Court of Appeal Suspends Order Requiring Compliance with Official Languages Act

On December 12, 2011, Chief Justice Blais of the Federal Court of Appeal of Canada (“FCA”) granted a suspension (a “stay”) of a rare structural injunctive order, pending an appeal commenced by Air Canada (click here for decision).

The Plaintiffs, Michel and Lynda Thibodeau, had initially logged eight complaints with the Commission of Official Languages concerning the lack of bilingual services on eight different Air Canada flights.  Due to its former Crown Corporation status, and unlike other Canadian airline carriers, Air Canada is required to comply with the Official Languages Act (the “Act”).

At trial, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that the airline failed to comply with the Act’s requirement for the provision of bilingual services on four separate occasions,

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Uncle Sam is Watching (Part 2)

In a previous post, we discussed amendments to the Aeronautics Act which allowed Canadian airlines to provide passenger information to the United States Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) for international flights that not only land in, but also overfly the United States.  The specifics of the information to be provided was to be set out in future regulatory amendments.  The new amendments came into effect on September 30, 2011.

Under the U.S. Secure Flight program, air carriers are required to share certain passenger information for flights travelling over continental U.S. airspace to a third country.  The information is to be provided to the DHS approximately 72 hours before departure.  In situations where the reservation was created within 72 hours of departure, the information must be submitted …

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British Columbia Aviation Council 2011 Conference and Silver Wings Banquet

Congratulations to the British Columbia Aviation Council for another successful Silver Wings Awards Banquet! 

As always, the highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Council’s annual industry awards and aviation student scholarships.  Industry award recipients included Pulselite Canada, the CHC Safety and Quality Summit, Central Mountain Air and the Abbotsford Airport.  The winner of the Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award was Barry Lapointe of Kelowna Flightcraft.

This year’s Ernie Alexander Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Michael Saare (pictured above) of BCIT’s Airline & Flight Operations Program. Michael recently obtained his commercial pilot licence and is interested in pursuing a career as a commercial pilot. We are thrilled to have such a deserving recipient and wish him the very best in

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Plane Crash Fraud Charges in Brazil

The AFP Global News Agency reported yesterday that federal prosecutors in Brazil have pressed charges against 20 individuals who claimed they were relatives of air crash victims.

According to prosecutors, the fraudsters faked social security documents and claimed they were relatives of deceased victims.  In reality, those victims had no heirs.  The fraudsters then illegally collected pensions, and allegedly netted $1.6 million from the scam.

Plane crash victims from the following 3 crashes were targeted by the gang:  a)  Air France Flight 447,  b) Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907, and           c)  TAM Airlines Flight 3054.…

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Educational Malpractice Doctrine Applies to Aircraft Flight Training

In January 2003, a Cirrus SR-22 crashed in low visibility near Hill City, Minnesota.  The two occupants of the recently purchased aircraft perished in the accident.  The next of kin of the pilot and passenger later commenced an action against Cirrus and a university alleging that they failed to provide the pilot with adequate flight training.

The pilot, Gary Prokop, had obtained his pilot’s licence in 2001 and had logged about 225 hours of flight time (mostly on his previous aircraft, a slower and less complex Cessna 172).  Mr. Prokop had not obtained his Instrument Rating. He was therefore not permitted to fly in meteorological conditions that were below VFR weather minimums.

The forecasted weather for the route flown was …

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Fun In The Sun

After a longer than expected summer hiatus (no doubt inspired by the very late arrival of summer in Vancouver), the Alexander Holburn Aviation Law Blog is back!  Stay tuned for a post regarding a lawsuit alleging inadequate flight training.…

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Aw Nuts! CTA Refines the Buffer Zone

As outlined in a previous post, the CTA has determined that a nut allergy can be a disability which must be accommodated by air carriers.  The previous rulings required carriers to set up buffer zones when provided with at least 48 hours notice of an allergy by a passenger and that only peanut free and nut free foods could be served to all passengers in the buffer zones.

Recently, the CTA ruled on the issue of whether Air Canada faced an “undue hardship” after Air Canada informed the CTA that it would not be able to comply with the previous ruling requiring that all foods served in the buffer zones be nut free. Air Canada advised that it utilizes numerous …

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Valid Medical Certificate Required for Coverage

In a recent ruling, the Alberta Court of the Queen’s Bench corrected an earlier decision which found that a pilot’s estate was entitled to insurance coverage for loss of an aircraft, despite the fact that the pilot’s medical certificate had expired.

Nicholas Gudzinski took out an insurance policy (the “policy”) on his Cessna 177B Cardinal. The policy listed Gudzinski as an approved pilot and provided coverage:

“only if your aircraft is flown by an approved pilot … who has the required license or endorsements to fly your aircraft.”

On August 19, 2006, Mr. Gudzinski was killed when he lost control of the aircraft after making a slow-speed pass at a low altitude.  Gudzinski was issued a Canadian private pilot’s …

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Qantas Settles With Rolls-Royce

In a recent post, we noted that Qantas Airways had filed a preliminary action in the Australian federal court.  The lawsuit arose from the failure of a Rolls-Royce engine on November 4, 2010,  which led to a temporary grounding of Qantas’ entire A380 fleet.

Qantas announced today that it has reached a settlement agreement with Rolls-Royce which includes a discontinuance of the lawsuit.  While the terms of the settlement are confidential, the profit and loss impact of the settlement will reportedly be recognized in Qantas’ financial reports as A$95 million.

Last month, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) released an interim factual report (link) stating that the failure was caused by a manufacturing defect in an oil feed pipe.  The ATSB’s investigation is ongoing …

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Criminal Acts During Flight

Two recent Canadian criminal court rulings considered charges resulting from the conduct of passengers aboard international commercial flights that landed in Canada.

These rulings confirm the jurisdiction of Canadian authorities to prosecute those who, during a flight that terminates in Canada, commit acts that would be considered a criminal offence under Canadian law.

On April 27, 2011, Michele Jules Ego (a 73 year old tourist from the French island Réunion) was charged under the Aeronautics Act for using an electronic device without permission and failing to comply with flight crew instructions. Mr Ego, a licensed pilot and retired mathematics professor, was using his GPS system on a flight from Minneapolis to Winnipeg.  He also refused to buckle his seat belt when …

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