Viking Renews Twin Otter Series 400 “Maintenance Plus” Support Contract with Peru Air Force

Pictured above: Viking has been providing factory-new spare parts and hands-on technical support to the Peru Air Force under the Maintenance Plus program since 2016 resulting in improved dispatch reliability for Peru’s entire Twin Otter fleet. Photo credit Katsuhiko Tokunaga.

Calgary, Alberta, July 30th, 2020: Viking Air Limited of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, and the Fuerza Aerea del Peru (FAP) have renewed their comprehensive Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft support contract originally initiated in 2016 for a further five years under Viking’s Maintenance Plus (M+) Program. The FAP operates twelve Series 400 Twin Otters that provide civil protection, environmental monitoring, critical infrastructure support and emergency medevac services in the remote Amazonian regions of northeast Peru.

Viking specifically developed the M+ program to meet FAP’s requirements for a single-contract instrument that provides budget predictability, a streamlined procurement process for continuous flow of factory-new spare parts, up-to-date technical publications, on-site technical training, and digital tools for monitoring scheduled maintenance events.

Since implementing the initial Performance-Based Logistics (PBL) support contract in 2016, Viking’s M+ program has helped the FAP maintain spare part inventory levels with minimal bureaucracy, maximize its Series 400 Twin Otter fleet utilization, and increase dispatch reliability rates to further enable the organization’s critical operational and training requirements.

“As the OEM for the De Havilland Twin Otter, we are continuously evolving our customer support offerings to help operators manage their fleets with safety and efficiency in mind,” commented Gregory Davis, Viking’s vice president Customer Service & Product Support. “Our Maintenance Plus program is one example of how we work with customers to understand their needs and develop custom support services to suit them. We are proud to continue providing this comprehensive service to the FAP.”

About Fuerza Aerea del Peru:

The Fuerza Aerea del Peru’s purchase of twelve Series 400 Twin Otters is Viking’s largest single-customer order of new production aircraft to date. Delivered between 2011 and 2014, the aircraft are configured with land gear and floats to provide critical infrastructure support, medevac services, environmental monitoring, civil protection and troop transportation to remote regions in northeast Peru.

Pictured above: The Peru Air Force provides critical infrastructure support to remote communities in the Amazonian region of northeast Peru with its fleet of twelve wheel & float-equipped Series 400 Twin Otters. Photo credit D. Moeri.

Pilatus PC-12 NGX Receives Transport Canada Certification


Levaero Aviation is proud to announce that Pilatus Aircraft Ltd has achieved Transport Canada Type Certification for the industry’s most advanced and versatile single-engine turboprop – the PC-12 NGX. As Canada’s Authorised Pilatus Sales & Service Centre, Levaero is eager to begin customer deliveries imminently.

Building on the experience gathered from a worldwide PC-12 fleet of over 1,700 aircraft, the brand-new PC-12 NGX brings the latest technology to the turboprop market.

Thomas Bosshard, CEO of Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd, stated, “To maintain the PC-12s leadership in the general aviation marketplace, we continuously seek innovative solutions which benefit the safety, comfort and productivity of our customers. The PC- 12 NGX is a showcase for the advanced technology collaboration between Pilatus, Pratt & Whitney Canada, and Honeywell. Together, we took the best and made it even better. What’s more, our customers do not have to wait years into the future to enjoy these benefits, the PC-12 NGX is here today.”

The Pilatus PC-12 NGX was built on the rock-solid foundation of its predecessor, with significant upgrades throughout the aircraft. With an improved Pratt & Whitney PT6E engine, smarter avionics and a redesigned cabin with larger windows, the PC-12 NGX is the third generation PC-12 to be considered the most advanced single-engine turboprop ever.

“The NGX is the latest iteration of Pilatus’ class-leading PC-12 and will find a welcome home in Canada’s diverse operational environment. Canada is now home to more than one hundred PC-12s, and we look forward to the NGX joining those ranks in short order,” said Levaero Aviation Vice President of Sales and Business Development, Stan Kuliavas.

Other impressive features of the PC-12 NGX include maintenance interval extension to 600 hours, an increase of 1,500 hours to the engine TBO (now 5,000 hours), and hourly direct operating costs reduced by at least 9 percent. A new nose-to-tail maintenance program along with already high historical residual values will make the NGX the most valued business aircraft in its class.

With the Pilatus PC-12 NGX now available in Canada, Levaero is excited to announce a Canadian demonstration tour of the aircraft, in September. To request a private viewing or to learn more about the PC-12 NGX, click here.

Air Canada Reports Second Quarter 2020 Results

  • Total revenue decline of 89 per cent over second quarter of 2019 due to COVID-19 and government-imposed travel restrictions; cargo revenue up in the quarter
  • Total passengers carried decline of 96 per cent compared to the second quarter of 2019
  • Liquidity of $9.120 billion at June 30, 2020
  • Operating loss of $1.555 billion

MONTREAL, July 31, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today reported unrestricted liquidity of $9.120 billion at June 30, 2020, in line with Air Canada’s expectations, compared to unrestricted liquidity of $7.380 billion at December 31, 2019. Total revenues fell from $4.738 billion in the second quarter of 2019 to $527 million in the second quarter this year, a decline of $4.211 billion or 89 per cent. Cargo revenue increased 52 per cent to $269 million.  The airline reported second quarter 2020 negative EBITDA(1) (excluding special items) or (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $832 million compared to second quarter 2019 EBITDA of $916 million.  Air Canada reported an operating loss of $1.555 billion in the second quarter of 2020 compared to operating income of $422 million in the second quarter of 2019.

“As with many other major airlines worldwide, Air Canada’s second quarter results confirm the devastating and unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and government-imposed travel and border restrictions and quarantine requirements. Canada’s federal and inter-provincial restrictions have been among the most severe in the world, effectively shutting down most commercial aviation in our country, which, together with otherwise fragile demand, resulted in Air Canada carrying less than four per cent of the passengers carried during last year’s second quarter. In the face of such an impossible operating environment, I am extremely proud of the outstanding efforts our team is making, doing everything possible to successfully navigate this crisis, leveraging our strong balance sheet and the many other assets we developed or acquired over the last decade,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada.

“Since mid-March, we have raised $5.5 billion in new equity, debt and aircraft financings in the capital markets, providing us with over $9 billion in liquidity as of June 30th to help weather the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, we have taken decisive action to cut spending and preserve liquidity – including a major management and front-line workforce reduction, a $1.3 billion reduction of our fixed costs and capital investments, the permanent retirement of 79 aircraft (representing more than 30 per cent of our combined mainline and Air Canada Rouge fleet), the indefinite suspension of certain domestic routes and station closures, and a reduction in our network seat capacity of 92 per cent in the quarter. These were some of the painful but necessary steps we have taken to stabilize our airline and preserve cash in these uncertain times. We will now look to the future using this unprecedented challenge as an equally unprecedented opportunity to rebuild a smaller but even more nimble airline, with a simplified and younger fleet and a lower cost structure coming out of the crisis. 

“Above all, today’s reported declines in revenue of nearly 90 per cent and in passengers of over 96 per cent, should reinforce the tremendous urgency for governments in Canada to take reasonable steps to safely reopen our country and restore economic activity. Other jurisdictions globally are showing it is possible to safely and responsibly manage the complementary priorities of public health, economic recovery and job preservation and creation. This is why Air Canada recently added its voice to that of many business and union leaders, including more than 140 major Canadian corporations and travel and tourism companies, employing nearly three million Canadians, in calling on the Government of Canada to take prudent steps to replace current blanket travel restrictions and quarantines with targeted evidence-based measures that reflect current circumstances.

“For our part, Air Canada is laser-focused on business continuity and in positioning ourselves to emerge competitively as the pandemic recedes. To promote customer safety and confidence, we introduced Air Canada CleanCare+, a comprehensive, multi-layered approach to biosafety at all phases of the journey. As well, we have slowly begun to rebuild our network, recalling a small number of employees and selectively restoring the award-winning services that have placed Air Canada among the world’s great airlines. For this I thank our employees for all of their incredible efforts and dedication and together we look forward to greeting our returning customers,” said Mr. Rovinescu.

Air Canada has taken or will take the following measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Customer Service and Safety

  • Air Canada makes safety its first consideration in all that it does and has been continually updating its health and safety policies and procedures for travellers and employees in all workplaces, airports, and onboard aircraft to account for new information about COVID-19 as it becomes available. This now includes a requirement for customers to wear a protective face covering, as well as enhanced protective personal equipment for airport agents and crews, the reinforcement of safe practices such as frequent hand-washing and collaborating with the Canadian federal government to screen passengers to help determine fitness for flying. For more details on preventative measures and policies, please see:
  • To underscore its commitment to customer and employee safety, Air Canada introduced Air Canada CleanCare+. The new program is designed to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 through such measures as enhanced aircraft grooming, mandatory preflight customer temperature checks in addition to required health questionnaires and providing all customers with care kits for hand cleaning and hygiene.
  • Air Canada has undertaken several medical collaborations to continue advancing biosafety across its business, including with Cleveland Clinic Canada in Toronto, a renowned global healthcare leader to provide additional science-based evidence in our ongoing COVID-19 response; with Ottawa-based Spartan Bioscience to explore rapid COVID-19 testing in an aviation environment; and, since last year, with Toronto-based BlueDot, a company that monitors infectious diseases globally in real time to give us accurate, relevant information to make business and safety decisions quickly.
  • To assist with global requirements of goods and personal protective equipment during the pandemic, Air Canada operated more than 2,000 all-cargo international flights since March 22, 2020, and plans to operate up to 100 all-cargo flights per week in the third quarter using a combination of Boeing 787 and Boeing 777 aircraft as well as four recently converted Boeing 777 and three converted Airbus A330 aircraft where it has doubled available cargo space by removing seats from the passenger cabin.
  • Air Canada announced special benefits and accommodations for Aeroplan and Altitude members in light of COVID-19. These include pausing mileage expiration, grandfathering mileage-earned status, waiving certain change and redeposit fees, and launching new promotions so that members can earn additional Aeroplan Miles without leaving home.


  • Air Canada reduced second quarter 2020 capacity by 92 per cent compared to the second quarter of 2019 and plans to reduce its third quarter 2020 capacity by approximately 80 per cent compared to the third quarter of 2019. This compares to a prior estimated reduction of 75 per cent, the larger reduction resulting from the continued extension of blanket travel restrictions in Canada. The airline will continue to dynamically adjust capacity and take other measures as required to adjust for demand including as a result of health warnings, travel restrictions, border closures and passenger demand.
  • Air Canada suspended service indefinitely on 30 domestic regional routes and closed eight stations at regional airports in Canada.

Financing and Liquidity

  • In March 2020, Air Canada drew down its US$600 million and $200 million revolving credit facilities for aggregate net proceeds of $1.027 billion.
  • In April 2020, Air Canada concluded a 364-day term loan in the amount of US$600 million, secured by aircraft and spare engines, for net proceeds of $829 million.
  • In April 2020, Air Canada concluded a bridge financing of $788 million for 18 Airbus A220 aircraft which Air Canada expects to replace with longer-term secured financing arrangements later in 2020. The longer-term financing is expected to be secured by the 18 Airbus A220 aircraft.
  • In June 2020, Air Canada concluded an underwritten marketed public offering of 35,420,000 Class A variable voting shares and/or Class B voting shares of the company at a price to the public of $16.25 per share, for aggregate proceeds of $576 million, and a concurrent marketed private placement of convertible senior unsecured notes due 2025 for aggregate proceeds of US$748 million ($1.011 billion).
  • In June 2020, Air Canada completed a private offering of $840 million aggregate principal amount of 9.00 per cent Second Lien Secured Notes due 2024 (the “2024 Notes”), which were sold at 98 per cent of par. The 2024 Notes are secured obligations of Air Canada, secured on a second lien basis by certain real estate interests, ground service equipment, certain airport slots and gate leaseholds, and certain routes and the airport slots and gate leaseholds utilized in connection with those routes.
  • In June 2020, Air Canada completed a private offering of one tranche of Class C EETCs with a combined aggregate face amount of approximately US$315 million ($426 million), which were sold at 95.002 per cent of par. The Class C tranche ranks junior to the previously issued Series 2015-1, Series 2015-2, and Series 2017-1 EETCs, and is secured by liens on the 27 aircraft financed under the Series 2015-1, Series 2015-2, and Series 2017-1 EETCs. The Class C EETCs have an interest rate of 10.500 per cent per annum, and a final expected distribution date of July 15, 2026.
  • As a result of the above financing activities, unrestricted liquidity amounted to $9.120 billion and excess cash amounted to $6.820 billion as at June 30, 2020. Air Canada updated its definition of excess cash in the second quarter of 2020 to better reflect the current operating environment. Air Canada was previously using 20 per cent of trailing 12 months operating revenue as its estimate of the minimum cash required to support ongoing business operations. The minimum cash estimate has now been updated to a fixed amount of $2.4 billion. This minimum cash estimate considers Air Canada’s various financial covenants, provides adequate coverage for advance ticket sales, and supports Air Canada’s liquidity needs.
  • Air Canada’s unencumbered asset pool (excluding the value of Aeroplan and Air Canada Vacations) amounted to approximately $2.5 billion as at June 30, 2020. As part of Air Canada’s ongoing efforts to increase liquidity levels, additional financing arrangements continue to be assessed.
  • Air Canada suspended share purchases under its Normal Course Issuer Bid in early March 2020 and did not renew its issuer bid upon its expiry in the second quarter of 2020.

Cost Reduction and Capital Reduction and Deferral Program

  • Air Canada initiated a company-wide cost reduction and capital reduction and deferral program as a result of COVID-19, which has now reached approximately $1.3 billion, increased from an initial target of $500 million. Excluding depreciation, amortization, and special items, second quarter 2020 operating expenses decreased $2.462 billion or 64 per cent from the same quarter in 2019. Air Canada continues to seek additional opportunities for cash preservation.
  • Air Canada announced a workforce reduction of approximately 20,000 employees, representing more than 50 per cent of its workforce. This was achieved through layoffs, terminations of employment, voluntary separations, early retirements, and special leaves.
  • Air Canada adopted the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) for most of its workforce effective March 15, 2020. On July 17, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that the program would be redesigned and extended to December 2020. Air Canada intends to continue its participation in the CEWS program, subject to meeting the eligibility requirements.
  • Air Canada is retiring 79 older aircraft from its fleet – consisting of Boeing 767, Airbus A319 and Embraer 190 aircraft. Their retirement will simplify the airline’s overall fleet, reduce its cost structure, and lower its carbon footprint.

Second Quarter Summary

Air Canada recorded a net loss of $1.752 billion or $6.44 per diluted share, compared to net income of $343 million or $1.26 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2019.

At June 30, 2020, net debt of $4.564 billion increased $1.723 billion from December 31, 2019, reflecting the impact of net cash used for operating and investing activities in the first six months of 2020.  The unfavourable impact of a weaker Canadian dollar, as at June 30, 2020 compared to December 31, 2019, increased foreign currency denominated debt (mainly U.S. dollars) by $350 million. 

In the second quarter of 2020, net cash flows used in operating activities of $1.251 billion deteriorated by $2.341 billion from the same quarter in 2019 on lower operating results and lower cash from working capital as a result of lower advance ticket sales, reflecting the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In the second quarter of 2020, net cash inflows from financing activities amounted to $4.089 billion, an increase of $4.470 billion from the second quarter of 2019.

Net proceeds from debt and equity financings of $4.358 billion in the second quarter of 2020 reflected the impact of the financings discussed above.

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Pearson among 4 Canadian airports now screening temperatures

News from Toronto Sun – link to story

Canadian PressCanadian Press • 30 July 2020

Toronto Pearson International Airport on July 22, 2020. VERONICA HENRI / Toronto Sun

Four major Canadian airports will begin taking passengers’ temperatures starting Thursday as part of the effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The federal government says temperature screening stations are set up at airports in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal.

Transport Canada says temperature screening will be expanded to another 11 airports by September.

Employees who enter restricted areas of the airport will also be screened.

Passengers who have temperatures above 38 degrees will not be allowed to travel and will be asked to re-book after two weeks.

The new screening measures are meant to supplement previous travel safety precautions, including a requirement for all travellers to wear face masks.

Transat changes course on refunds as it cancels most winter flights

News from BNN Bloomberg – link to story

30 July 2020 – Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

Air Transat
A worker inspects the rear of an Air Transat aircraft at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. , Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

MONTREAL — Air Transat plans to cancel all flights from Western Canada to sun destinations and the United States this winter, with refunds en route to customers — a policy 180 in the COVID-19 era.

The airline is scrubbing all southbound routes that were slated to take off from Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria, Air Transat parent Transat AT told customers this week.

The only routes out of western gateways between Nov. 1 and April 30 will be from Vancouver to Toronto and Montreal, as well as some connecting flights to Europe via Toronto.

Would-be passengers will automatically receive a full refund rather than the company credit that has previously been offered for flights cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis, Transat said.

“Since the current situation does not allow us to foresee resuming routes from Western Canada in the near future and there will therefore be no direct flight options to use vouchers with Air Transat from their location, customers impacted by cancellations resulting from this suspension will receive a refund in the amount on file,” Transat spokeswoman Marie-Christine Pouliot said in an email.

“For other locations, where more options exist, we have offered more flexibility by relaxing our travel credit policy. They are now fully transferable and have no expiry date.”

Transat cited “the many challenges” facing the airline industry, which revolve around a pandemic that shut down borders and grounded fleets before traffic slowly starting to pick up in the summer, though not enough to revive the critical crossborder tourism or business travel markets. The Montreal-based carrier’s first flight in four months took off last week.

Transat and other Canadian airlines have refused to reimburse most customers whose flights were cancelled as a result of the coronavirus.

Transat, Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd. have all said their stance on refunds aligns with federal regulations and guidance posted over the past five months by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA).

Legal precedent, contract law suggest that’s not the case, said passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs, noting “the universal principal across Canada” that customers should be reimbursed for services never rendered.

“Air Transat must refund all passengers whose flights were cancelled, regardless of their point of departure or the reason for the cancellation,” Lukacs said, citing a CTA decision from 2004 concerning Transat as well as the carrier’s own contract of carriage.

The company’s crossborder tariff — a contract between airline and passenger — states that Transat “will refund the unused ticket” in the event of overbooking or cancellation by the airline.

Air Canada quietly changed its refund policy in June to allow some customers with cancelled flight tickets to recoup their cash — but not passengers whose trips originated in Canada.

Travellers with flights originating in the European Union, Switzerland or Iceland are entitled to receive a refund, the airline said, but passengers who were slated to fly one-way or round-trip from Canada to Europe are not.

WestJet changed its policy to reimburse customers on flights between the U.S. and Canada that were cancelled due to COVID-19 after “carefully monitoring the regulatory frameworks” across jurisdictions.

The country’s three biggest airlines have cancelled tens of thousands of flights since late March. Air Canada saw capacity dip by 95 per cent in the spring after it lost more than $1 billion in the first quarter and projects passenger levels will not return to 2019 levels for at least three years.

Transat told The Canadian Press last week it will delay the closing deadline of its takeover by Air Canada, pushing it back by one month until Aug. 27 as European regulators and federal cabinet members mull how the $720-million acquisition will affect competition.

Expert says it’s ‘not acceptable’ TSB hasn’t finished report on cause of 2017 Fond-du-Lac plane crash

News from CBC News – link to story

Investigators say it’s a complex probe with many factors to consider

Guy Quenneville · CBC News · Posted: Jul 29, 2020

A West Wind Aviation passenger plane crashed near Fond-du-Lac, Sask., shortly after takeoff in December 2017. One passenger died in hospital two weeks later. (Transportation Safety Board of Canada)

It’s been two and a half years since a passenger plane plummeted near the northern Saskatchewan community of Fond-du-Lac and people are asking why the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) still hasn’t publicly announced the cause of the crash. 

“I basically have heard what you’ve heard: not a whole lot,” said Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation Chief Louis Mercredi, adding that he’s concerned about the holdup. 

“We all need to hear what really caused the plane to go down.”

A West Wind Aviation twin-turboprop plane crashed near the fly-in community’s airport shortly after takeoff on the evening of Dec. 13, 2017. 

Ten people on board were seriously injured. One of them died in hospital two weeks after the crash. Several passengers soon filed a class-action lawsuit against the Saskatoon-based airline.

The TSB, which investigates Canadian plane crashes, said it’s still working on its report — despite having entered the reporting phase in mid-2018.

“It is a complex investigation with many factors to consider and the investigation team must take the time necessary to complete its work,” TSB spokesperson Chris Krepski said on Monday, acknowledging that it “seems like a long time.”

Long past target deadline

Initially led by longtime TSB investigator David Ross (until he retired earlier this year), the West Wind probe is what the TSB calls a “class 2 investigation.” According to the TSB’s website, class 2 investigations are generally completed within about one year and eight months.

Krepski said that timeline is a target. When asked what is causing the delay in the Fond-du-Lac case, he said he could not provide specifics about an active investigation.

John Williams, a former superintendent with Transport Canada (which has assisted the TSB in its investigation), said the delay is “not acceptable at all.”

“Trust me: nobody’s been working for two years on that crash. They’ve got other things to do,” Williams said.

The TSB website lists 108 other air plane crashes that happened after the Fond-du-Lac crash. A third of those investigations remain active, while the rest have been completed.

Retired Transport Canada superintendent John Williams says it’s an “open and shut case” of ice contamination. (CBC)

An ‘open and shut case’: expert 

Williams called the West Wind investigation an “open and shut case” based on the information the TSB has put out so far.

“I just can’t believe that [the TSB] haven’t given out the report,” he said.  

According to the TSB, West Wind crew members did not de-ice the plane even though the plane had ice on its wings. The clouds above Fond-du-Lac that day contained patches of rough ice. 

“Conducting a takeoff with contaminants adhering to aircraft critical surfaces … can lead to difficulty controlling the aircraft or to a loss of control and collision with terrain,” the TSB said. 

Investigators have ruled out other factors such as engine failure, unqualified flight staff or an overweight plane.    

Williams pointed to ice contamination as the overwhelmingly likely cause of the crash. 

“It’s not debatable, really,” he said. “It’s like, ‘Your airplane crashed because you attempted to fly in icing conditions.’ There’s not an aircraft certified in Canada to take off with any ice on the wings.”

In December 2018 — one year after the crash — the TSB called on Transport Canada to work with airlines to improve de-icing procedures in remote airports across Canada. 

The recommendation came after the TSB found limited de-icing equipment at the Fond-du-Lac airport. Worse, a TSB poll of remote pilots found that almost 40 per cent of pilots are rarely or never able to have their planes de-iced at remote airports.

In response, West Wind said it had installed “enhanced de-icing equipment” across its northern operations. 

TSB officials did not comment on the cause of the Fond-du-Lac crash at the time. 

‘We have heard nothing’ 

Exactly when the cause will be publicly disclosed remains unclear. 

At some point in the TSB’s reporting process, the TSB drafts a confidential version of its report and shares it with the company involved in the crash. 

“They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect,” says the TSB website. “The board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.”

Tracy Young-McLean, West Wind’s vice president of human resources, said the company has yet to receive any report from the TSB. 

“We have heard nothing. We don’t know why they have not issued their report,” she said. 

This flow chart outlines the TSB’s multi-step investigative process. (TSB)

Tony Merchant, the Regina-based lawyer representing passengers in the class-action lawsuit, said he’s not waiting on the investigation and is hopeful a class-action certification hearing will happen in the next six months.

Still, Merchant said he is also puzzled by how long the TSB’s work is taking, calling it “unusual, verging on the bizarre.”

“We then become suspicious that there’s something far more significant involved and that’s the reason for this unusual delay,” he said.

Pilot killed in Stave Lake plane crash mourned by loved ones, aviation community

News from CityNews1130 – link to story

BY KATHRYN TINDALE – Posted Jul 28, 2020

Erissa Yong-Wilson is being remembered for her love of flying as friends, family, and the aviation community mourn her death. (Courtesy Erissa Yong-Wilson/Facebook)


  • Friends, family of plane crash victim near Stave Lake remembering her legacy as a pilot
  • The aviation community is mourning the death of Erissa Yong-Wilson online

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A pilot who died in a plane crash near Stave Lake Monday evening last posted a picture to social media asking where she should land. A day later, the aviation community is remembering her lasting legacy and love of flying.

Erissa Yong-Wilson, 66, is being described as a “great mentor and fantastic example for aspiring female aviators,” by George Aung Thin, president of the Abbotsford Flying Club.

In a Facebook post, Thin says Yong-Wilson “was a great pilot and an all-around really cool person.”

Yong-Wilson last posted to Facebook Monday from a plane that seems to show the area of Stave Lake with the caption, “Where do you think we should land next?”

Comments left on the post Tuesday say Yong-Wilson lived her life to the fullest, enjoying every moment of it.

“She touched the lives of everyone she met with her passion and unbridled zest, she is greatly missed,” one person writes.

Speechless and devastated is how a different commenter reacted to Yong-Wilson’s post.

“She was definitely larger than life, and touched so many hearts in her time here on Earth,” the person writes.

Others remember Yonge-Wilson for her undeniable passion of flying and how she shared that with those around her.

Some of her recent flights were posted to Facebook, showing her travelling around the province documenting her adventures.

Another aviation page Young-Wilson was part of is celebrating her memory and mourning the loss as a “massive hit to our community.”

It’s unclear what caused the single-engine Cessna carrying Yong-Wilson and another passenger to crash, but an investigation is ongoing.

RCMP had been called to an abandoned airstrip after reports of a downed plane near the lake around 6 p.m. Yong-Wilson died at the scene of the crash, while a 21-year-old was found and rushed to hospital.

-With files from Sonia Aslam

European airlines urge Canada to remove ‘problematic’ coronavirus-travel restrictions

News from Global News – link to VIDEO and story

By Allison Lampert Reuters Posted July 29, 2020

ABOVE: Canadians want continued border control amid COVID-19 pandemic, Ipsos poll shows.

European airline and airport executives urged the Canadian government this week to allow a safe “restoration of travel” between Canada and Europe, adding industry pressure on Ottawa to remove coronavirus-related restrictions that have discouraged international air travel.

In a letter dated July 27, top executives of nearly a dozen European airlines and airports, warned that “since many EU (European Union) countries and Switzerland require reciprocity to re-establish access, Canada’s continued entry restriction and quarantine requirements are becoming problematic.”

READ MORE: Canadians can enter Europe starting July 1. Here’s what you need to know

The content of the letter, sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other government ministers, was reviewed by Reuters.

The EU has taken steps in recent weeks to relax travel requirements both internally and towards citizens of select other countries, including Canada, although Britain reintroduced a 14-day quarantine this week for arrivals from Spain.

Canada’s borders are closed to all non-citizens except for essential workers. Canadians who enter the country from abroad must self-isolate for two weeks.

Trudeau has dismissed repeated calls from Air Canada to relax air travel restrictions to select countries.

Watch: Air Canada urging government to ease quarantine restrictions

The July 27 letter was signed by executives from Air France-KLM and Germany’s Lufthansa Group, among others.

Trudeau’s office and Air France-KLM were not immediately available for comment.

“Canada should look to remove the restrictions on travel to European Union and Swiss nationals and allow for a safe, cautious and sensible restoration of travel between two important trading partners,” the executives said in the letter.

“Just as the EU has recognized Canada’s successes in managing the pandemic, so too must Canada recognize the EU’s.”

Executives pointed out that the EU and Switzerland are “safe jurisdictions” with many countries having lower infection rates than Canada.

“Canada has made tremendous strides during the pandemic but it cannot remain isolated forever.”

Air Force Veteran Sullivan Joins Boeing Canada Team

Will serve as Managing Director for Canada, based in Ottawa

OTTAWA, Ontario, July 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Boeing [NYSE:BA] today named Charles S. “Duff” Sullivan as Managing Director of Boeing Canada, effective August 4. He will be based in Ottawa and report to Donna Hrinak, President of Boeing Canada.

Sullivan will be responsible for strengthening company-to-country relationships and pursuing new business and industrial partnerships. He succeeds Bob Cantwell, who is based in Vancouver and will become director of policy and strategy integration for the Boeing Canada team. 

“Duff has a distinguished 40-year career in aviation, aerospace, the military, public safety and security,” said Hrinak. “His unique expertise will advance Boeing’s relationships and help develop new business opportunities that can further expand our century-long partnership with Canada.”

Prior to joining Boeing, Sullivan served as Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer for the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada. He is also a veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he accumulated over 3,500 flying hours on jet aircraft, 1,600 of which were flown in the CF-18 Hornet.

Sullivan has also served in several senior executive and leadership positions throughout his career, most notably as Director-General of Capability Development at National Defence Headquarters; Director of International Security and Senior Defence Adviser in the Prime Minister of Canada’s Privy Council Office; Major-General on a 12-month tour of duty in Afghanistan as NATO’s Air Component Commander; and, Director of Operations for the Canadian North American Air Defense Command Region during 9/11 and the G8 and G20 Summit in Kananaskis.

Boeing is celebrating more than 100 years of partnership with Canada. The company has approximately 1,600 highly skilled workers at 15 locations across the country. Canada is home to a broad customer base of products and services from Boeing’s commercial, defense, services and space business. Boeing facilities in Canada provide parts, components and assemblies for all current Boeing 7-series jetliners, along with software development and consulting services. Canada is one of the largest international supplier bases for Boeing, including more than 500 suppliers spanning every region of the country.

Winnipeg airport sees 95% drop in passengers during coronavirus: WAA

News from Global News – link to story

By Shane Gibson Global News – July 28, 2020

James A. Richardson International Airport saw a 95 per cent drop in travellers in April through June, the WAA said Tuesday.
James A. Richardson International Airport saw a 95 per cent drop in travellers in April through June, the WAA said Tuesday. Elisha Dacey/Global News

The head of the Winnipeg Airports Authority says it could take years for the city’s airport to get back on solid ground after seeing a 95 per cent drop in passengers between April and June due to COVID-19.

Numbers from the WAA show the airport had fewer than 56,000 people go through its gates during the second quarter of 2020, down from 1.1 million over the same period of 2019.

READ MORE: Traffic plummets, signs replace travellers at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport

“The sharp drop in traffic has been felt at airports around the world and Winnipeg has not been immune,” said Barry Rempel, president and CEO of the WAA, in a release.

“This will be a slow recovery taking years to return to 2019 levels.”

The worst day came April 11 when just 59 passengers departed from James Richardson International Airport, according to the WAA numbers.

The Manitoba government imposed public health orders requiring anyone entering the province to self-isolate for 14 days in March, and the federal government has banned cross border travel between Canada and the United States to help stem the spread of the virus.

Manitoba has since lifted the self-isolation requirement for those arriving from western provinces, but a recent plan to loosen the requirements for those travelling from the east was taken off the table when Manitobans expressed concerns over the idea.

On Monday, Manitoba’s chief public health officer said he’s keeping an eye on rising case counts in Saskatchewan and Alberta, and said the self-isolation rules could be put back in place for those coming from western provinces if needed.

Financial turbulence

The sharp drop in passengers means WAA’s consolidated revenue for the second quarter of 2020 rang in at $11.6 million, compared to $33.5 million in 2019.

That led to a loss of $3.2 million before interest, depreciation and taxes in the second quarter, the WAA says, compared to the $16.3 million they earned in last year’s second quarter.

READ MORE: Masks are mandatory at Winnipeg airport starting Wednesday

While passenger traffic fell dramatically, the WAA says there was good news in the cargo sector, which held steady during the travel lockdowns imposed during the early days of the pandemic.

Cargo plane landings were up 2.1 per cent in the second quarter over the same time last year, as medical supplies and personal protective equipment were moved in and out of the region.

To mitigate the significant financial hit, the airport’s authority laid off about 25 per cent of its staff in June and has cancelled or paused all non-essential capital projects.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Operating budgets have also been cut, salaries have been reduced, and the WAA says it’s saved some money by shutting down some areas of the terminal left empty by the drop in traffic.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Layoffs coming to Winnipeg airport as traffic drops

“WAA is focused on taking the right steps today to mitigate the impact while keeping the company and airport sustainable in the future,” Rempel said.

“The global pandemic has impacted the aviation and tourism industries in ways no one could have predicted.”