The first production of SAF sustainable aviation fuel developed in Canada

MONTRÉAL, Sept. 14, 2021 /CNW/ – The SAF+ Consortium (“SAF +”) is proud to announce one of the first productions of sustainable aviation fuel PtL (Power to Liquids) in North America. This production took place in its pilot factory, located at the ParaChem industrial site, east of Montreal. SAF+ aims to bring to market, by 2025-2026, synthetic kerosene whose carbon footprint is reduced by 80% compared to fossil kerosene. The PtL sector consists of producing a synthetic liquid fuel by capturing and combining CO2 from industrial sources to green hydrogen produced in Quebec. 

“These first liters of e-fuel represent a historic moment and an important milestone for SAF+” declared Mr. Jean Paquin, President and CEO of the SAF+ Consortium, within the framework of the 27th Montreal Conference presented by the International Economic Forum of the Americas.

“As the airline industry aims to reduce its carbon footprint and reduce kerosene consumption, SAF + stands out as a pioneer in the field of sustainable aviation fuel in Canada. For us, e-fuel is the way to go in the aviation industry if we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions substantially”, added Mr. Paquin. 

“The PtL path is one of the most promising for the decarbonization of sustainable fuels”, declared Alexandru Iordan, head of operations of the SAF+ Consortium, “by using green hydrogen, it accelerates the development of this important energy sector in the years to come”. 

A collective effort for an optimal energy transition  

“I would like to warmly thank all the members of our consortium, the governments of Quebec and Canada who contributed to making this important step a real success. With their support and knowing that the demand for SAF in the aviation industry will almost double every year for the next 30 years; such solutions will position Montreal as a hub for responsible aviation in Canada, thus contributing to an energy transition underway, while helping our governments to achieve their reduction targets in terms of climate change”, concluded Mr. Paquin. 

Quotes From Consortium Members

“Airbus is fully committed to the decarbonization of air transport and believes that Sustainable Aviation Fuels (“SAF”) have the potential to become a major driver in reducing CO2 emissions in commercial aviation – for existing fleets and future. The SAF is a ready-to-use solution for the airline industry today. Our planes are already capable of integrating a mixture of up to 50% of SAF and our goal is to achieve 100% compatibility by 2030, knowing that these SAFs can today reduce emissions by 80% of CO2 (over the life cycle) and be close in the future to 100% with e-fuels produced with green hydrogen and carbon capture”, said Steven Le Moing, head of the New Energies program at Airbus.

“This is why we are particularly proud to work with the SAF + Consortium because supporting SAF innovation and production around the world is at the heart of Airbus’ decarbonization strategy”.

“We are very happy to support this structuring initiative for Montreal since the beginning. The Consortium is now taking a first-rate milestone that will lead to a concrete sustainable aviation fuel solution, that we will be the first user of when it goes to market. We strongly believe in the future of SAF because, at present, it is one of the most promising ways to reduce our carbon emissions and we must accelerate its development. We are staying the course on our strong and lasting commitment to minimize our impact on climate change”, said Jean-François Lemay, President and CEO of Air Transat. 

“These first steps allow us to position Quebec as one of the leaders in a green and sustainable recovery. By capturing the CO2 that would have been released into the atmosphere to give it a second use, we confirm the ecosystem’s desire to be bold and creative to accelerate our transition to more sustainable aerospace industry. We are also helping to create a pool of innovative and unprecedented jobs for the next generation of workers”, said Suzanne Benoît, President and CEO of Aéro Montréal.

“ADM is committed to working actively with its partners to support initiatives that help to reduce the environmental impact of aviation activities and that promote Quebec know-how internationally. As a member of the consortium, our organization is proud to support this innovative CO2-based clean fuel technology. This first delivery lets us predict the start of a small and most positive revolution in the industry”, said Martin Massé, Vice-President, Sustainable Development at ADM Aéroports of Montréal.

“An aviation revolution, that is the essence of today’s announcement. By tackling polluting discharges from the sector, through the Valorisation Carbon Québec (PVCQ) project, Polytechnique Montréal’s chemical engineering research group has placed its expertise at the service of highly strategic innovation for climate action. We thank the Government of Quebec for the financial assistance granted to the PVCQ as part of the 2013-2020 Climate Change Action Plan. Support for research and development of technological solutions for capturing and recovering carbon dioxide is essential to open up new markets for the Quebec economy and help large emitters reduce their greenhouse gas emissions”, mentioned Louis Fradette, professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Polytechnique Montreal.

“SAF +’s technological approach offers a significant reduction in GHGs and will greatly contribute to the effort to decarbonize the economy. As an expert consulting engineering firm, BBA is determined to be part of the business plan for our planet. We are proud to participate once again by helping ingenious and passionate minds like SAF+ to implement their innovative technologies that will shape a more resilient world”, said Lyne Ricard, Business Line Director – Sustainable Fuels, oil and gas at BBA.

About SAF + CONSORTIUM   
SAF+ CONSORTIUM is a Quebec company specialized in the development of clean fuels produced using the capture of CO2 emissions from industrial sources. It brings together leading players spanning the entire aviation value chain to provide Canadians with a sustainable business solution for low-carbon flights. For more information, visit safplusconsortium.com 

Sunwing announces its return to Cuba – a perennial favourite among Canadians – with flights from gateways across the country

TORONTO, Sept. 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Amid easing entry requirements and soaring vaccination rates in Cuba, along with competitive pricing for pre-departure PCR tests at $30 USD per person, Sunwing is pleased to announce that it will be offering weekly flights to the Canadian favourite destinations of Varadero and Cayo Coco. Flight service will be available from several gateways across Canada starting in October and November, including Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton. As winter progresses, more Canadian departure gateways and popular Cuban destinations are expected to be added to reflect evolving consumer demand.

“We’re thrilled to be helping our customers head back to the sunny shores of Cuba this fall under our wing,” commented Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations at Sunwing. “Cuba has been an integral part of our operations ever since our inaugural flight took off from Toronto to Varadero in 2005. Our Cuba program has continued to grow since then, and has been one of our most popular destinations over the past decade. The resort towns of Varadero and Cayo Coco both offer serene beach locations and secluded tourist areas for a relaxing retreat, away from the hustle and bustle of larger cities.”

The flight schedule will be as follows:

  • Between Toronto and Varadero, Fridays starting October 8, 2021
  • Between Toronto and Cayo Coco, Saturdays starting October 9, 2021
  • Between Montreal and Varadero, Fridays starting October 8, 2021
  • Between Montreal and Cayo Coco, Saturdays starting October 16, 2021
  • Between Calgary and Varadero, Tuesdays starting November 2, 2021
  • Between Edmonton and Varadero, Tuesdays starting November 2, 2021

With its pristine beaches, warm weather and a wide variety of resorts for every travel style, it’s no wonder that Canadian sun-seekers return to Cuba year after year. Grand Memories Varadero is a popular choice with fun-filled activities and a sprawling beach that’s perfect for soaking up the sun and building sandcastles. Vacationers headed to Cayo Coco may choose to stay at Iberostar Selection Playa Pilar, with oceanfront suites and the area’s only water playground; or Memories Flamenco Beach Resort, offering a range of water sports like snorkelling and catamaran rides.

Plus, all vacation packages booked by October 15, 2021 for departures between now and October 31, 2021 will include complimentary COVID-19 coverage at no additional charge.

About Sunwing
The largest integrated travel company in North America, Sunwing has more flights to the south than any other leisure carrier with convenient direct service from airports across Canada to popular sun destinations across the U.S.A., Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. This scale enables Sunwing to offer customers exclusive deals at top-rated resorts in the most popular vacation destinations as well as cruise packages and seasonal domestic flight service. Sunwing customers benefit from the assistance of the company’s own knowledgeable destination representatives, who greet them upon arrival and support them throughout their vacation journey. The company supports the communities where it operates through the Sunwing Foundation, a charitable initiative focused on the support and development of youth and humanitarian aid.

Airline leaders question proposed vaccine requirement for northern passengers

From CBC News – link to source story

Enforcement and effectiveness, as well as the frequency of medical travel, among issues raised

Liny Lamberink · CBC News · Posted: Aug 31, 2021

Air Tindi’s base on Latham Island in Yellowknife. The airline’s president, Chris Reynolds, said the federal government’s announcement earlier this month that vaccinations would be required by all commercial air passengers felt ‘a bit rushed.’ (Sidney Cohen/CBC)

It’s been more than two weeks since the federal government said vaccinations against COVID-19 would be required for all commercial airline passengers in Canada — and it’s still unclear what that will look like in the North.

“Everything is [up] in the air,” said Glenn Priestley, the executive director of the Northern Air Transport Association. “Every three days I do a national conference call on this subject as we try to figure out what we’re going to do.” 

As part of his mid-August announcement, Omar Alghabra, Canada’s transportation minister, said the vaccine would also become mandatory for federal employees as well as crews and passengers on interprovincial trains and large marine vessels with overnight stays. 

The requirement would kick in soon, Alghabra said at the time. On Monday, his acting chief of staff, Shane McCloskey told CBC News in a statement the “specific details and parameters on vaccination requirements for federally-regulated sectors are currently being developed among several departments.”

Children under 12 will not need to be vaccinated in order to fly, said McCloskey.

Reynolds said he’s encouraging Air Tindi employees and passengers to get vaccinated, but he has more questions than answers about the federal government’s plans to make that a requirement for all commercial air travel. (Air Tindi)

In the North, Priestley and Chris Reynolds, the president of Air Tindi, both said they had more questions than answers about how vaccination requirements could be enforced. They also both noted the frequency of medical-related travel in the territories.

“The difficulty in the North is not all travel is privilege,” said Reynolds. 

“If you’re in a community where there’s no access other than air access and you have to escape that community for certain reasons, whether it’s legal, whether there’s violence issues, domestic violence issues, whatever it happens to be, and somebody is vaccine hesitant — where do you draw the line?”

Reynolds said he’s encouraging his employees and Air Tindi passengers to get vaccinated, but he’s not enforcing anything until the policy is finalized and there’s more clarity from Transport Canada about how it can be carried out.

Priestley, meanwhile, wondered how vaccination status would be checked on domestic flights without border security resources and how various systems individual provinces are developing to prove vaccination status would work together.

“Is it going to be a passport? A national system? Or is it going to be like a driver’s licence where every province has one?”

He also questioned if rapid COVID-19 testing at airports would be more effective at preventing the virus from spreading.

“If I come to you and I show you proof of a negative test that was done five minutes ago … does that not provide you with the safety you require to put me in your business or on your plane,” Priestley asked. “Is that not better than a double vaccinated person? Because a double vaccinated person can of course be contagious and not know it.” 

Priestley said the association is working closely with the territories and doesn’t want to create more problems for northern airlines. But, according to Reynolds, it’s not something he’s panicking about. 

“I personally feel it’s a bit rushed,” he said. “We’ll see what happens when the dust settles.”

Canada is easing travel rules on Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know

From Global News – link to source story

By Emerald Bensadoun, Global News | September 6, 2021

Click to play video: 'Airlines struggle to keep up with passenger volumes'
WATCH: Airlines struggle to keep up with passenger volumes

International travellers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will once again be allowed onto Canadian soil this week as eased travel restrictions go into effect.

At 12:01 a.m. Sept. 7, all foreign nationals who have been jabbed with a vaccine authorized for use by Health Canada will be allowed into the country for non-essential purposes, and won’t need to quarantine for 14 days. To date, Canada has approved vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.

Canadian airports are advising travellers to arrive earlier and prepare for longer wait times, in anticipation of the new rules and additional public safety precautions.

Toronto Pearson International Airport released a statement on Monday asking all departing domestic passengers to arrive at least an hour and half ahead of their flights, and for international passengers to arrive at least three hours in advance. They added the arrivals process for international travellers “could take three hours or longer.”

Meanwhile a spokesperson for Montreal-Trudeau International Airport told Global News that there have already been “longer than usual wait times” at the border in order for the airport to meet COVID-19 requirements for travellers.

The move to ease restrictions for international travellers, first announced in July, follows Canada’s earlier decision in August to allow fully-vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents into the country, and put an end to the federal government’s quarantine hotels.

The U.S. has yet to reciprocate, as fully vaccinated Canadians are still not permitted to cross land borders. Air, sea and rail travellers are exempt. The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Canada currently stands at Level 3: “Reconsider Travel,” citing a “high level of COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, Canada still has a ban on direct flights from India in place until Sept. 21. Travellers coming from the country through an indirect route are still required to obtain a valid pre-departure COVID-19 molecular test from a country other than India before coming to Canada.

Still, Canada’s eased restrictions mark a significant shift for the federal government, which has barred non-essential travel for non-citizens throughout much of the pandemic. Here’s what you need to know.

Click to play video: 'Where the major parties stand on vaccine passports'Where the major parties stand on vaccine passports

What are the new rules?

As of Tuesday, the federal government says foreign travellers who are fully vaccinated will be free to come to Canada as long as they are asymptomatic, have received either two doses of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine or a combination of accepted vaccines at least 14 days before entering the country and meet other pre-entry requirements.

Before boarding, anyone at least five years of age and up — even if they are fully vaccinated — will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test that was taken within 72 hours before boarding a plane. Antigen tests don’t count.

They will also have to upload their proof of vaccination into the ArriveCAN app either in English or in French before takeoff or they will not be allowed to board.

The new rules exempt travellers from the mandatory 14-day quarantine once they have touched down in Canada, but selected foreign nationals may be subject to testing upon arrival.

Nobody partially vaccinated will be exempt from the new travel restrictions, and neither will travellers who have received one dose and recovered from COVID-19.https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/daily-covid-vaccination-doses-per-capita?tab=map&stackMode=absolute&region=World

Travelling with unvaccinated children

Global Affairs Canada said unvaccinated children under the age of 12 flying with their parents, step-parents, guardians or tutors who are fully vaccinated will also be exempt from the 14-day quarantine, but will still have to meet all testing requirements as well as an additional test after eight days.

Anyone travelling with unvaccinated kids under the age of 12 will be required to include them in their ArriveCAN submission.

Children between the ages of 12 and 17 will still have to follow all testing and quarantine requirements, even if they are accompanied by adults who have been fully vaccinated.

GAC said travellers flying with unvaccinated kids who are 12 to 17 years of age should not include them in their ArriveCAN submissions.

“Complete your submission without them so that you have a receipt for the rest of the group,” the agency said. “You will be able to provide the information for the youth(s) before boarding your flight or upon entry to Canada.”

Cases rising in Canada

The move to reopen Canada’s borders comes amid troubling news from the country’s top public health official, who said last week that the window to avoid a devastating fourth wave was closing quickly.

“The moment you get people back indoors to access all those important, essential things that we need to do, we will see accelerations,” Dr. Theresa Tam said Friday as she released new federal modelling that showed daily COVID-19 cases in Canada could reach 15,000 per day, unless more people get vaccinated.

Despite rising cases of COVID-19, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who is currently seeking re-election, said Monday that Canadians and their families who have chosen to get vaccinated “deserve to get back to normal as quickly as possible.”

Trudeau said a recovering economy means “welcoming in business travellers and tourists from places around the world as long as they are vaccinated,” adding, “that’s not where the risks are right now.”

To date, Health Canada says more than 76 per cent of Canadians aged 12 years old and up are fully vaccinated, while more than 83 per cent have received a first dose.

— with files from the Canadian Press

Cancelled flights, lost luggage, no customer support: why flying has become a ‘nightmare’

From Global News – link to source story

By Erica Alini, Global News | September 4, 2021

Click to play video: 'Airlines struggle to keep up with passenger volumes'
WATCH ABOVE: It’s called revenge travel. After months of COVID-19 travel restrictions Canadians are flying to see family and friends or to take long overdue vacation time. But staffing at major carriers has not kept pace. Angry travelers are sharing stories of delayed and cancelled flights and what they say is insufficient customer service. Anne Gaviola reports.

When Catherine Litinsky flew out of Winnipeg for a week-long vacation with friends near London, Ont., in early August, she had already gone through one round of flight cancellations.

Litinsky, a law student who was working a summer placement, says WestJet had notified her in July she had been rebooked on different flights that would have forced her to take one extra day off. Instead, Litinsky cancelled her booking, received a full refund and rebooked herself on Air Canada flights to Toronto and then to London.

But when Litinsky was set to fly back with the same itinerary the morning of Aug. 14, she got a message from Air Canada at 5:23 a.m. that very day saying her flight back to Toronto had been cancelled due to “crew constraints.” The airline had rebooked her on flights leaving the next day that would have taken her from London to Toronto, then all the way to Vancouver and finally back to Winnipeg, according to documents reviewed by Global News.

“In my mind, I was going like, ‘well, this just isn’t happening. I’m not doing this. This is so ridiculous’,” says Litinsky, who says she had nowhere to stay for one extra night.

Instead, Litinsky hopped into a cab and made her way from London to Toronto’s Pearson Airport, where she was able to catch the flight to Winnipeg, which had not been cancelled. But Litinsky says the taxi ride cost her more than $500.

Labour shortages linked to flurry of flight cancellations

Litinsky’s sentiment is widely shared among passengers who’ve attempted to board a flight this summer.

Canadian air travellers have taken to social media in droves to share stories of cancelled flights, lost luggage and hours-long wait times for customer service. Global News has also received many such accounts.

“It’s a mess,” says John Gradek, faculty lecturer and academic coordinator for the aviation management program at McGill University.

“They can’t fly those airplanes that they put out there,” he says. “They’re short pilots (and) they’re short flight attendants.” 

Airlines were likely hoping they could make do with skeleton staff by relying on overtime, but as August rolled around, they started running out of overtime, he says.

The email Air Canada sent Litinsky about her London-to-Toronto flight being cancelled due to crew constraints reads: “for example, crew have a ‘duty day’ limit which means they work for a maximum number of hours and one explanation could be that they reached their maximum due to earlier flight delays or connection issues.”

The spike in cancellations isn’t unique to Canada, with the U.S. and the U.K. also experiencing similar problems, according to Gradek.

In July, the U.S. Congress asked several U.S. airlines to explain labour shortages, flight cancellations and delays after the industry received billions in federal aid amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada, which has supplied relief funding to Air Canada, Air Transat and the parent company of Porter Airlines, has been experiencing widespread labour shortages, with an estimated 800,000 unfilled jobs in June.

Air Canada said in a statement to Global News it has recalled around 55 per cent of its flight attendants to operate approximately 35 per cent of its pre-COVID schedule. “Most pilots continued to work through the pandemic,” it added.

The airline said there was an “elevated” number of cancellations earlier in the summer, though it added the situation is now “normalizing.”

WestJet said it is operating 350 flights per day, around half its pre-pandemic volume. The airline added since May 2021 it has recalled, or is in the midst of recalling and hiring, more than 4,000 staff including pilots, cabin crew members, mechanics and others. “These WestJetters require training to be properly prepared to meet the requirements of their role,” the company told Global News via email.

“While we are seeing positive signs of recovery, our flight schedules are built many months in advance based on anticipated demand. As travel restrictions lift and vaccination rates rise, we are working diligently to predict the balance in demand and to support our guests’ needs,” it also said.

But the airline industry globally had been grappling with a looming labour shortage even before the pandemic. The United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), for example, has been warning of skilled personnel shortages for years.

Still, Gradek says, airlines deployed too many aeroplanes and booked too many flights for the level of staffing they’d hired for the summer.

The good news, though, is that the flight chaos should subside shortly as summer tourism wanes and the demand for business travels remains well below pre-pandemic levels, he adds.

Long waits for customer service also blamed for ruined trips

Travellers say insufficient customer support is also disrupting their travel plans.

McKenzie, who was travelling with her fiance on the way to her own destination wedding, says both she and the travel agency she’d booked with were unable to get through to Air Canada to have a separate ticket issued. In a complaint filed with Air Canada, McKenzie wrote that when she phoned the Air Canada customer service she remembers being told the wait time would be five or seven hours.

“That wasn’t going to help whatsoever,” she says, because her flight was set to leave in less than three hours.

McKenzie also reached out to Air Canada on Twitter, but the thread shows she did not receive an answer until around 7.5 hours later.

As a last resort, McKenzie says she offered to pay for a new ticket for her son but says she was told she’d been bumped off her flight, which had been overbooked.

“I was not asked to give up my seat. I was not offered any form of payment to give up my seat. I was not offered a later flight, I had to ask about a later flight and was told the next flight to Toronto with available seats was several days away,” McKenzie wrote in her complaint to Air Canada.

McKenzie says she eventually drove herself to Toronto, booked herself on a flight to Detroit on Delta Air Lines and rebooked the rest of her journey to New Orleans. While she was able to make it to her wedding in time, she says she’s out thousands of dollars for the cost of the unplanned hotel stay in Toronto, parking near the airport and the flight she missed.

In Fort McMurray, Alta., Kent Tinkess says poor customer service resulted in his family giving up entirely on a long-planned vacation.

The plan was for Tinkess, his wife and two children to fly to Calgary, where they would join up with his mother and continue their trip to Nanaimo, B.C. But when Tinkess arrived in Calgary he says he discovered the second leg of his journey has been cancelled due to a wildfire near the Nanaimo airport. He says WestJet staff told him the airport had been shut down. Tinkess says the airline rebooked the family on two separate flights to Nanaimo, one leaving around 10 hours later and one the morning after, without consulting them.

Foreseeing a long layover, Tinkess booked a hotel near the airport and explored possible alternative routes, such as flying to Vancouver or Victoria and then driving to Nanaimo. But because of a shortage of rental cars, all those options appeared unfeasible, he says. Eventually, concerned the Nanaimo airport would stay closed for several days, the family opted to rebook their flights and return home.

It was only then that Tinkess says he realized the Nanaimo airport never closed, as he said he was repeatedly told by WestJet staff. Instead, Transport Canada had temporarily suspended in and outbound flights to allow for emergency crews to fight the fire, according to a report by the Nanaimo News Bulletin. While the family has received a partial refund for their flights, Tinkess says he received no assistance from WestJet in figuring out a way to salvage the trip.

Air Canada said it’s seeing “relatively high” volumes of calls to its customer service, which it attributed in part to customers having more questions about things like travel restrictions and testing requirements.

“We continue to recall contact centre agents, but additional training is involved as many are working for the first time with our new reservation system installed since the pandemic began. We are developing more self-service and online resources to assist customers,” it said.

The airline added customers can ask for a refund for flights cancelled for any reason, and if they were not rebooked on another flight departing or arriving within three hours of their original departure or arrival time, or if a new connection was added to their itinerary.

WestJet said it is currently experiencing “very high volumes” of customer requests through its phone, email and social media channels. “Our teams are working diligently to assist every guest as quickly as possible,” it said.

The airline added it offers flexible booking options for guests and is providing refunds when requested for “WestJet initiated cancellations and schedule changes that meet eligibility.”

WestJet added that it provided passengers affected by the flight cancellations due to the Nanaimo airspace closure on Aug. 21 with “different re-accommodation options” in line with its policies.

Under Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) airlines are required to pay passengers compensation for flight delays or cancellations due to reasons within their control and not related to safety. Large airlines like Air Canada and WestJet must provide eligible passengers with compensation of $400 for a delay of between three and six hours, $700 for a delay between six and nine hours and $1,000 for a delay of more than nine hours.

In situations within the airlines’ control, large carriers must rebook passengers on competitors’ flights if they aren’t able to accommodate passengers on their own flights leaving within nine hours of the original departure time.

For situations outside the airlines’ control, passengers are entitled to a refund if any rebookings offered do not meet their needs or there is no longer any purpose to the travel because of the disruption.

But air passenger advocate Gabor Lukacs says he’s seen airlines failing to meet both their obligation to provide compensation for flights cancelled due to crew constraints and to rebook travellers on competitors’ flights when necessary.

Lukacs, a long-time critic of the APPR, says the lack of compliance is the result of flaws in the regulations and a lack of enforcement.

“One of the biggest problems I’m seeing structurally is that there are no real financial consequences for airlines that break the law,” he says.

He recommends passengers who believe they didn’t receive adequate compensation sue the airlines in small-claims court.

Both Air Canada and WestJet say they comply with the APPR, including rebooking passengers on competitors’ flights when required.

As for Tinkess, he says he’s in no rush to set foot on an airplane any time soon.

“I’m telling everyone I know ‘don’t fly,’ he says. “It’s not worth the hassle.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

CFB Borden chronicles Canada’s military aviation history to dizzying heights

From Barrie Today – link to source story

From the CF-104 Starfighter to the CF-101 Voodoo and the CF-116 Freedom Fighter to the F-86 Sabre, Base Borden Military Museum takes people back in time

By: Ian McInroy | 2 September 2021

A CF-104 Starfighter intercepter is on display at CFB Borden. Ian McInroy for BarrieToday

A CF-104 Starfighter intercepter is on display at CFB Borden. Ian McInroy for BarrieToday

Soaring tributes to Canada’s aviation history can be seen at Canadian Forces Base Borden.

Mounted on pedestals to honour the men and women who flew them and serviced them, the aircraft from another century are a reminder of air battles and technologies of decades gone by.

Military aviation in CFB Borden, located about 20 minutes west of Barrie, goes back to early 1917 when it was called Camp Borden.

That’s when a series of temporary — they turned out to be not-so-temporary and some are still standing  hangars and aviation facilities were built to support the training of aviators for the Royal Flying Corps, according to Canadian Military History by author Bruce Forsyth.

“After the Great War, Camp Borden became the central point around which military aviation would develop in Canada,” he states in the book. “In 1919, an Imperial Gift of over 100 surplus war aircraft found their way to Canada, most of them going to Borden to provide the nucleus of a national air force.”

Following the creation of the Canadian Air Force in 1920, Camp Borden was once again selected as the main training centre for aviation.

“During the ’20s, the camp saw the birth of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the graduation of the first RCAF pilots in 1924,” Forsyth states in his book. 

Now, military aircraft from the second half of the 20th century can be seen up close and personal.

A CF-5 (officially designated as the CF-116 Freedom Fighter) can be seen at CFB Borden. Ian McInroy for BarrieToday

An aviation milestone for this country, the CF-100 was the first all-Canadian jet fighter and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) bought 639 of them from Avio Ltd., located in Malton, Ont. It was introduced in 1953, had a range of 1,850 kilometres, carried machine-guns and rockets, and excelled in its primary role for air defence.

The Canadair T-33 Red Knight, a Canadian-built version of the Lockheed T-33, was Training Command’s solo display aircraft from 1958 to 1967. It was powered by a Rolls-Royce Nene 10 turbojet and had a top speed of about 500 knots. This particular T-33 was once in front of the 441 (Huronia) Wing, RCAF Association building on Highway 90 west of Tiffin Street.

It’s a familiar bird in a different colour. The Canadair CT-114 Tutor, of Snowbirds fame, entered service in 1964. The version on display at CFB Borden is in the 1963 paint scheme honouring 50 years of service between 1963 and 2013.

The Bell CH-136 Kiowa was tactically deployed as a light observation helicopter between 1971 and 1982, performing duties such as artillery and fighter fire spotting.

Designed by Grumman and built under licence by deHavilland in Canada, the multi-role Tracker flew with the Royal Canadian Navy aboard the carrier HMCS Bonaventure. The Tracker had the capability to search out and destroy submarines with torpedoes or depth charges.

A Canadair CF-104 Starfighter can be seen near Hangar Road at CFB Borden. Referred to as the ‘Missile with a man in it’, the CF-104 (single-seat version) was built in Canada under license by Canadair in Cartierville, Que., and was envisioned as a high-speed, high-altitude interceptor. It had a maximum speed of Mach 2, or 2,330 kilometres per hour.

The McDonnell Douglas CF-101 Voodoo, which entered service in the RCAF in 1961, was a supersonic, all-weather fighter-interceptor powered by two Pratt and Whitney gas turbine engines with afterburners. It had a maximum speed of 1,930 kilometres per hour. The Voodoos were replaced by the CF-18 Hornet in the 1980s.

Arcing across a field not far from the base’s airstrip is the Canadair F-86 Sabre, the premier swept-wing fighter interceptor of the 1950s (think Korean War). It first flew for the RCAF in 1950. Over the next 20 years, Sabres accumulated more than 925,000 flying hours. The famous Golden Hawks aerobatic squad flew Mark 5 Sabres.

The Canadair CF-5 — officially designated as the CF-116 Freedom Fighter  was the company’s licence-built version of the American Northrup F-5 Freedom Fighter aircraft. The CF-5, which began service in 1968, was upgraded periodically throughout its career and Canadian Forces retired it in 1995.

Sitting just outside the Base Borden Military Museum is the Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King maritime helicopter. Its compact design boasts a fold-up rotor and tail to allow it to lift off from destroyers and frigates to locate and destroy submarines. And its amphibious hull enabled it to conduct an emergency water landing.

Anyone interested in Canadian Forces history can also visit the Base Borden Military Museum, which is located at 27 Ram St.

© 2021 BarrieToday.com

Saskatchewan pilot killed in northern Alberta plane crash

From Global News – link to source story

By Staff – The Canadian Press | September 2, 2021

Roblin, Man. RCMP investigating suspicious death.
Roblin, Man. RCMP investigating suspicious death. File / Global News

RCMP say an 84-year-old man from Saskatchewan was killed in a plane crash in northern Alberta.

Alberta Mounties say officers responded to a report of a possible plane crash Tuesday morning in the area of Marten Mountain, about 11 kilometres northeast of Slave Lake.

They say the crash happened in rugged terrain, which limited access, and the search was called off that day due to the rain.

The search resumed the next day with military aircraft, including a CC-130H Hercules from Winnipeg and a CH-146 Griffon helicopter from 417 Combat Support Squadron in Cold Lake.

Police say the lone pilot, who was from Rosthern, and the aircraft were found Thursday.

They say he was travelling from Alberta to Saskatchewan.

The RCMP say the cause of the crash has yet to be determined and the Transportation Safety Board will be investigating.

Police did not release the pilot’s name or what kind of aircraft he was flying.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Airline leaders question proposed vaccine requirement for northern passengers

From CBC News – link to source story

Enforcement and effectiveness, as well as the frequency of medical travel, among issues raised

Liny Lamberink · CBC News · Posted: Aug 31, 2021

Air Tindi’s base on Latham Island in Yellowknife. The airline’s president, Chris Reynolds, said the federal government’s announcement earlier this month that vaccinations would be required by all commercial air passengers felt ‘a bit rushed.’ (Sidney Cohen/CBC)

It’s been more than two weeks since the federal government said vaccinations against COVID-19 would be required for all commercial airline passengers in Canada — and it’s still unclear what that will look like in the North.

“Everything is [up] in the air,” said Glenn Priestley, the executive director of the Northern Air Transport Association. “Every three days I do a national conference call on this subject as we try to figure out what we’re going to do.” 

As part of his mid-August announcement, Omar Alghabra, Canada’s transportation minister, said the vaccine would also become mandatory for federal employees as well as crews and passengers on interprovincial trains and large marine vessels with overnight stays. 

The requirement would kick in soon, Alghabra said at the time. On Monday, his acting chief of staff, Shane McCloskey told CBC News in a statement the “specific details and parameters on vaccination requirements for federally-regulated sectors are currently being developed among several departments.”

Children under 12 will not need to be vaccinated in order to fly, said McCloskey.

Reynolds said he’s encouraging Air Tindi employees and passengers to get vaccinated, but he has more questions than answers about the federal government’s plans to make that a requirement for all commercial air travel. (Air Tindi)

In the North, Priestley and Chris Reynolds, the president of Air Tindi, both said they had more questions than answers about how vaccination requirements could be enforced. They also both noted the frequency of medical-related travel in the territories.

“The difficulty in the North is not all travel is privilege,” said Reynolds. 

“If you’re in a community where there’s no access other than air access and you have to escape that community for certain reasons, whether it’s legal, whether there’s violence issues, domestic violence issues, whatever it happens to be, and somebody is vaccine hesitant — where do you draw the line?”

Reynolds said he’s encouraging his employees and Air Tindi passengers to get vaccinated, but he’s not enforcing anything until the policy is finalized and there’s more clarity from Transport Canada about how it can be carried out.

Priestley, meanwhile, wondered how vaccination status would be checked on domestic flights without border security resources and how various systems individual provinces are developing to prove vaccination status would work together.

“Is it going to be a passport? A national system? Or is it going to be like a driver’s licence where every province has one?”

He also questioned if rapid COVID-19 testing at airports would be more effective at preventing the virus from spreading.

“If I come to you and I show you proof of a negative test that was done five minutes ago … does that not provide you with the safety you require to put me in your business or on your plane,” Priestley asked. “Is that not better than a double vaccinated person? Because a double vaccinated person can of course be contagious and not know it.” 

Priestley said the association is working closely with the territories and doesn’t want to create more problems for northern airlines. But, according to Reynolds, it’s not something he’s panicking about. 

“I personally feel it’s a bit rushed,” he said. “We’ll see what happens when the dust settles.”

Canada to employ Leonardo Osprey radar in environmental protection role

Rome  01 September 2021 16:16

  • Transport Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP) will use the multi-domain Osprey radar as it conducts operations along Canada’s coastline
  • Supporting environmental protection activities, Osprey has the ability to identify oil spills and rogue polluters at very long range, day or night
  • ST Airborne Systems will integrate the Osprey radar, as one of the key sensors in their MSS 7000 system, onto one of NASP’s iconic red Dash-8 aircraft

Transport Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP) is set to benefit from the advanced surveillance capabilities of Leonardo’s Osprey radar. Crews conducting missions to help Canada stay safe will benefit from the radar’s powerful oil-spill detection and vessel tracking capabilities. 

Osprey is Leonardo’s latest-generation E-scan (electronically-scanning) surveillance radar which employs a digital beam to almost-instantaneously detect, track and classify hundreds of maritime contacts, in 360 degrees around the aircraft. 

ST Airborne Systems will integrate the Osprey radar onto one of NASP’s iconic red Dash-8 aircraft, based in Ottawa. The multi-domain nature of Osprey makes it ideally suited to supporting NASP’s environmental protection mission in mixed environment operations along Canada’s coastline. 

One of the key goals of Transport Canada’s NASP is to prevent pollution in Canadian waters, protecting the maritime environment and endangered marine life. The Osprey radar will be a powerful new tool in the delivery of this mission, with the ability to identify oil spills and rogue polluters at very long range, day or night. 

Transport Canada also flies into action to save lives during search and rescue incidents for which Osprey is uniquely suited. The radar comes equipped with Leonardo’s patented small target detection capability, allowing it to locate shipwrecked individuals in the water at long range, even in the most difficult environmental conditions and sea states. 

The radar’s portfolio of modes will also be able to contribute to national security events, police investigations, humanitarian efforts, and civil emergencies.

Customers in 30 countries have selected Leonardo’s E-scan radars including the Seaspray and Osprey families. The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is upgrading to the Osprey radar and the US Navy has procured the Osprey 30 radar for its Fire Scout unmanned helicopter programme.

Small plane crashes on takeoff at Langley Airport

From Aldergrove Star – link to source story

Several firefighters dispatched to crash scene

HEATHER COLPITTS | September 1, 2021

Firefighters and other emergency responders were on scene Wednesday afternoon when a small plane crashed at the Langley Regional Airport. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

The pilot of a small airplane suffered a minor injury when he crashed on takeoff at the Langley Regional Airport on Wednesday afternoon.

The pilot was taking off in a Cessna at around 1 p.m. and was about 20 to 30 feet in the air when he had some trouble with his plane, said assistant Township fire chief Kevin Snowdon.

The pilot had to make an emergency landing on the grass next to the runways that run along the north side of the airport, near 56th Avenue.

The plane suffered some significant damage, with the nose bashed in somewhat, the propeller missing, and damage to both wings.

The plane came to rest on its nose facing north, sideways to the runways which run east-west.

Fortunately, for the pilot it was “a pretty minor incident,” said Snowdon.

The man suffered a minor leg injury, and he was taken to Langley Memorial Hospital by paramedics to have it checked out.