Sunwing trip could have been diverted mid-flight as party broke out, experts say

From The Globe and Mail – link to source story🔗

Christopher Reynolds, Montreal, The Canadian Press | January 6, 2022

Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says he has asked Transport Canada to investigate reports of unacceptable behaviour on a recent Sunwing Airlines flight to Cancun, Mexico.GRAHAM HUGHES/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Experts say a Sunwing flight that devolved into a raucous onboard party might have been halted mid-trip had certain aviation protocols been strictly followed.

Videos of the Dec. 30 charter voyage from Montreal to Mexico shared on social media show unmasked passengers in close proximity singing and dancing in the aisle and on seats as some clutch bottles of liquor, snap selfies and vape.

John Gradek, head of McGill University’s aviation management program, says the captain has responsibility for the plane, including the decision to turn around or touch down early due to unruly behaviour or other breaches by passengers.

“Pilots basically have full discretion to manoeuvre the airplane,” Gradek said in a phone interview.

“He’s the boss on board the airplane. It’s his or her decision. But he or she does that in consultation with headquarters, in consultation with dispatch in Toronto.

“I’m guessing that Sunwing dispatch instructed them to continue on,” he added.

Sunwing declined to comment about the decision to keep flying, citing “active internal and regulatory investigations.”

The Toronto-based tour operator said in an email that passengers — some were Quebec-based social media influencers — violated aviation regulations and public health rules with “unruly behaviour,” prompting the internal probe.

The health and safety of crew and passengers is “always our top priority,” Sunwing wrote.

It said Tuesday that passengers – some were Quebec-based social media influencers – violated aviation regulations and public health rules, prompting an internal investigation.

As a result, the Toronto-based tour operator cancelled the group’s return flight from Cancun that had been scheduled for Wednesday.

“The health and safety of our employees and passengers is our top priority at Sunwing Airlines,” the carrier said in a release.

Transport Canada has also launched an investigation in conjunction with the federal health and public safety departments.

It warned that non-compliance with COVID-19 or air safety regulations can result in fines of up to $5,000 per offence. It also noted that anyone giving false information to a Canadian government official – on vaccination status, for example – could face fines of up to $750,000, six months in jail or both.

Louis-Eric Mongrain, who worked as a commercial airline pilot for 14 years before the pandemic hit, said the decision to halt the flight all comes down to risk assessment.

“If the safety of other passengers or other crew members is at stake, it’s definitely necessary to divert the aircraft at that point if it’s feasible,” he said in a phone interview.

“But that is assuming that passengers were told to stop their behaviour. If they weren’t, that doesn’t really apply.”

Rena Kisfalvi, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees local representing about 1,000 Sunwing flight attendants, said that while things got out of hand, her colleagues told her the guests were never “aggressive.”

“This wasn’t a catastrophic event,” she said in a phone interview.

“Were they non-compliant with vaping? Yes. Were they non-compliant with masks? Yes. Were they non-compliant with alcohol consumption? Yes.

“But when you’re in the air and you’re halfway to where you need to be, there’s a lot of factors that come into turning that plane around or landing it immediately,” she said.

“I think it was a decision that they made as a crew.”

The trip organizer, who identifies himself on social media as James William Awad, said in a blog post Thursday that he had initially agreed to Sunwing’s terms for the return flight, including that no alcohol would be served, all passengers would “remain seated and belted,” and multiple “in-flight guardians” would be on board.

But Awad said that “we couldn’t conclude an agreement” because Sunwing refused to provide meals on the roughly five-hour journey.

Sunwing did not respond to questions about the organizer’s claims.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Wednesday, saying he was “extremely frustrated” with the young travellers’ choices and calling them a “slap in the face.”

Robert Kokonis, president of consulting firm AirTrav Inc., said he was “shocked” the plane did not return to Canada.

“The protocol for most carriers in a situation like that, where the cabin crew have lost control of the passengers on the flight, is to get the airplane put down as soon as possible. If they can make it back to Canada, great. If not, you set down at the closest airport where it would make sense,” he said in a phone interview.

Backyard cockpit simulator takes grounded Camrose, Alta., pilot around the world

From CBC News – link to source story🔗

‘You can feel everything. Every single switch, every button works the same as a real jet’

Ishita Verma · CBC News · January 06, 2022

Former recreational pilot Bob Roberts built a flight simulator of a Boeing 737 MAX in his backyard. (Bob Roberts/Meghan and Nicole Films)

A former pilot has found a way to travel the world without leaving his backyard. 

Bob Roberts built a Boeing 737 MAX simulator on his property in Camrose, Alta., and spends close to three hours a day flying. 

“I call [the Boeing 737 MAX] the sports car of the airline industry,” Roberts told CBC Edmonton’s Radio Active

“It’s very nimble, very fast now with the new Max,” he said. “They’re extremely efficient. They’re very powerful. It’s just a nice airplane to fly. And all the components are very modern.”

The simulator replicates the nose of the plane as seen from the cockpit, complete with windows and a screen projecting an outside view.

The immersive experience is complete with workable switches and buttons, Bose speakers, and motion. (Bob Roberts/Meghan and Nicole Films)

When the doors are closed, you can’t tell if you’re not flying, Roberts said. The pilot can fly in clear skies or in active weather. 

Once an avid recreational flyer, Roberts made the switch to the flight simulator about 10 years ago.

Flying any distance is expensive and he grew weary of making short flights. 

“I got tired of doing that, so I decided I would stop,” he said. 

Now, he said, he can fly to wherever he wants, when he wants. 

Roberts connects with other simulator enthusiasts around the world through groups like Virtual Air Traffic Simulator Network and PilotEdge which act as virtual air traffic controllers. 

An outside view of the cockpit. (Bob Roberts/Meghan and Nicole Films)

“We talk on the radio and we get clearance,” he said. “They have vectors in different airports and stuff like that. 

“There’s thousands of courses across the world that are doing some desktop simulators and some cool sims like I have. It’s very, very immersive.” 

But with motion sensors, Bose speakers, screens that wrap around the entire cockpit to look like windows, and real people acting as air traffic controllers, it’s hard to tell what the difference is between the real airplanes and the flight simulator. 

“You can feel everything. Every single switch, every button works the same as a real jet,” he said. 

“There is no faking anything on the plane other than you’re on the ground, and it’s the only fake thing about the whole experience.”

Roberts, a retired engineering manager for Syncrude Canada, has been flying since he got his licence at the age of 18. 

The screens wrap around the nose of the cockpit and project an outside view (Bob Roberts/Meghan and Nicole Films)

“I used to go to the local airport and watch guys fly, and I was just fascinated at the age of five years old,” Roberts said. 

For many years, he flew a Zenair Zodiac plane that he built himself.

Now the simulator makes it easier for him to fly to places he’s always wanted to. 

“I’ve flown to Alaska, I’ve flown to Churchill, Man.,” he said.

His next stop…Hawaii. 

Did COVID-19 cancel your flight? This is what you need to know

From CTV News – link to source story🔗

Daniel Otis, CTVNews.ca Writer | January 4, 2022

Miami International Airport

A passenger checks the airline departure board at Miami International Airport Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Surging COVID-19 case numbers and severe weather have seen scores of recent flight cancellations and delays in Canada and abroad. Unfortunately for Canadian travellers, instead of meal vouchers, hotel stays or financial compensation, the most they can usually expect from their airline is a new flight or a refund.

“You’re really beholden to the airlines as to how quickly they can get you home,” Martin Firestone, president of Travel Secure, a Toronto-based travel insurance brokerage, told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview.

Firestone says traditional travel insurance has not covered these kinds of flight interruptions since March 2020, when the world began responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Bottom line: insurance is not going to be your saviour on this one with respect to covering expenses of hotels, meals or anything like that if your flight get cancelled,” he explained. “That’s problematic.”

According to Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulations, if a flight to, from or within Canada is cancelled or delayed due to reasons outside of an airline’s control, you are entitled to a rebooking or a refund if the passenger decides not to travel.

In July 2021, Ottawa also proposed new rules to require refunds for cancelled flights.

If a delay or cancellation is within their control, airlines are obligated to provide things like hotel stays and money for out-of-pocket expenses, although there’s never any harm in asking nicely for additional assistance when speaking with an airline representative.

There are still a few things you can do to make your life easier if you have to travel right now, such as checking your flight status before you go to the airport, and if needed, rebooking with your airline as soon as possible. When making travel plans, you can also consider purchasing additional travel insurance in case you test positive for COVID-19 while away, which can provide funds to help offset hotel and flight costs.

If you’re willing to postpone or cancel your trip and wait out the Omicron wave, many airlines such as Air Canada and WestJet are currently waiving some change and cancellation penalties, but be sure to check your individual airline’s policies.

If you do end up getting stuck at an airport, in a customer service line, or on an hours-long call waiting for someone to help, Firestone says you should always “pack a little patience.”

“Three hours is not abnormal to wait to get information on the next flight,” he said. “If you go in with an aggressive attitude, you’re not going to get very far.”

That being said, complaints about how an airline handled a delay or cancellation can be filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency. Passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs said you can also challenge an airline’s explanation for a delay or cancellation in small claims court.

“In practical terms, there is nothing else to make airlines to comply with the law and respect your rights as a passenger,” he told CTVNews.ca. “The airline can say it was COVID-19, but if they cannot prove it, the airline will have to pay compensation.”

Update: Federal transport minister asks for investigation into Sunwing party flight to Mexico

From City News Vancouver – link to source story

Screengrab of Instagram video showing Sunwing flight from Montreal to Cancun on Dec. 30. (Credit: INSTAGRAM/111 Private Club)
Screengrab of Instagram video showing Sunwing flight from Montreal to Cancun on Dec. 30. (Credit: INSTAGRAM/111 Private Club)

By The Canadian Press and News Staff | January 5, 2022

Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra has asked Transport Canada to investigate reports of “unacceptable” behaviour on a recent Sunwing Airlines flight from Montreal to Cancun, Mexico.

Videos of the Dec. 30 flight shared on social media appear to show passengers not wearing masks as they gather in close proximity, singing and dancing in the aisle and on seats.

In one video, a large bottle of vodka appears to be passed among passengers, and later a woman appears to be smoking an electronic cigarette on the plane.

Link to video: 🔗 https://vancouver.citynews.ca/2022/01/05/investigation-sunwing-party-flight/

According to reports, the plane had been chartered and some of the passengers were cast members from Quebec reality television shows.

“I have asked Transport Canada to investigate the matter,” Alghabra wrote in a post on Twitter. “We must take the risks of COVID seriously!”

Later Tuesday, Alghabra, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino issued a joint statement which said all three ministers have directed their departments to investigate.

The statement said Transport Canada has contacted the airline, and says passengers who violated the department’s regulations could face fines of up to $5,000 per offence.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Wednesday, saying he’s “extremely frustrated” with the actions of the travellers, some of whom appear to be Quebec social media influencers.

“It’s a slap in the face to see people putting themselves, putting their fellow citizens, putting airline workers at risk by being completely irresponsible,” he said at a news conference in Ottawa.

“I can assure you that this is a situation that Transport Canada takes extremely seriously and we are definitely following up on that.”

READ MORE: Sunwing party flight showcases need for stronger rules: flight attendants

Pierre Poilievre, Conservative Party finance critic, says Sunwing should give back its subsidies to the federal government for allowing “elites” do what they want during a pandemic.

“And quite frankly what is sickening is to see the wealthy elites here in Canada around the world… that facilitate it.”

Rena Kisfalvi, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees local that represents about 1,000 Sunwing flight attendants, also called the passengers’ behaviour “unacceptable” and expressed sympathy for the crew on the Cancun flight.

“There’s a point where if you lose the control, you can’t get it back sometimes,” she said in a phone interview.

Compliance with mask rules has been a “massive issue” over the past year that has “caused a tremendous amount of aggressive behaviour” from passengers toward cabin crews, she said.

“I’m not sure where Transport Canada is on this. Why haven’t you done more?” Kisfalvi asked, at around the same time Alghabra put out his Twitter post.

“These passengers that are not complying, are they being charged? Are they being denied boarding in the future? Are they placed on a no-fly list? Maybe we as a government have to take that step to show the travelling public, `Look, we mean business here.”’

Sunwing said in an emailed statement that passenger behaviour on the private charter flight “was unruly and contravened several Canadian Aviation Regulations as well as public health regulations.” It said its security department investigated, and the company reported the incident to Transport Canada.

The airline said it provided the tour group leader conditions to ensure the safety of passengers and crew on the return flight to Montreal, scheduled for Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, the group did not accept all of the terms. As a result of our ongoing investigation and the group’s refusal to accept all terms of carriage, we have made the decision to cancel the return flight,” the Sunwing statement said. “We regret any inconvenience to the passengers.”

Air Transat says the passengers will not be allowed on its planes as they attempt to return to Canada.

The airline said on Twitter today the “disruptive passengers” from the Sunwing flight are trying to return home on Air Transat flights, but they will be denied boarding based on the company’s obligation to ensure passenger and crew safety.

On Instagram, 111 Private Club took credit for the flight, describing the all-inclusive New Year’s trip to Mexico it organized as the “best event of the year.” It posted a screenshot of a newspaper article about the flight with the caption, “we made the news.”

James William Awad, who operates 111 Private Club, did not respond to a request for comment sent through Facebook. A message sent to the 111 Private Club account also received no reply.

The statement from Alghabra, Duclos and Mendicino noted that the Public Health Agency of Canada and partners coordinate the processing of travellers returning to Canada, and that travellers suspected of non-compliance are referred to PHAC.

It stated that questionable or fraudulent documents will be retained, and warned that giving false information to a Canadian government official and could result in fines of up to $750,000, six months in jail, or both.

If endangering the lives of others and causing harm, the statement warns a traveller could be subject to up to three years in prison and/or up to $1 million in fines.

“The Government of Canada continues to advise all Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada at this time,” the statement concluded.

“We continue to work closely with airlines, airports, and our other transportation partners to safeguard the health of Canadians and Canada’s air transportation system.”

Top Aces – Truly Canadian Experts Ready To Support Skyalyne For FAcT

To be the best – you have to beat the best…

13 December 2021

Here at SkyAlyne, our mission is to ensure the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) remains among the most capable and best-trained air forces in the world. Our innovative and comprehensive training solution for Future Aircrew Training (FAcT) will rely on a wide range of expertise. We are very proud to include Top Aces in that training solution.

Top Aces, a Canadian Small-Medium Business (SMB), has been a trusted RCAF training partner for more than 15 years. They specialize in contracted airborne training services for Canada and other international customers. The most experienced contracted adversary training provider in the world, Top Aces’ daily mission is replicating a realistic threat to fighter pilots in their training exercises.

Top Aces has a reputation for excellence. Of their 300+ employees worldwide, Top Aces employs over 40 pilots who are among the best former fighter pilots from the Canadian, German and American armed forces – 80% of whom are Fighter Weapons Instructors, Canada’s highest fighter pilot instructional qualification.

Top Aces – Driven by our Values: Service

Founded by former Canadian fighter pilots, Canadian-based Top Aces is driven by their dedication to serving those who serve us all – a core value we share here at SkyAlyne.

Part of SkyAlyne’s Solution for FAcT

Our parent company CAE has teamed up with Top Aces to bring in their unique expertise on a wide range of current training needs. This includes supporting the design and analysis of courseware as well as providing ground, synthetic and live-flying training instruction.

If Canada successfully chooses SkyAlyne for the FAcT Program, Top Aces will join our operations with full-time instructors. These Top Aces experts will be part of our overall solution and trained to match the requirements of the FAcT Program.

To Top Aces – we here at SkyAlyne are proud to welcome you to the team! We’re excited to have you as part of our Truly Canadian Training solution for Canada’s future pilots and aircrew, and to join us in supporting the best air force in the world!

About Top Aces

Top Aces provides advanced adversary (“red air”) and joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) training to the world’s leading air forces. Founded in 2000 by a small group of highly accomplished former fighter pilots, Top Aces has the largest fleet of commercially operated fighter aircraft in active service and is the first company in the world to acquire the supersonic F-16. The mission-critical training offered by Top Aces enhances the operational readiness of combat forces by providing a realistic real-world experience while creating significant cost efficiencies and extending the lifecycle of military fleets.

Top Aces is changing the face of air combat training with its unparalleled safety record, outstanding team and an industry-leading 95,000+ hours of operational training flown in support of its customers worldwide – Experience matters.

For more information, please visit topaces.com.

Canada asks regulator to probe maskless party on airline as COVID cases soar

From Reuters – link to source story

4 January 2022

Canada's Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra takes part in a press conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada November 30, 2021. REUTERS/Blair Gable/File Photo

Canada’s Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra takes part in a press conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada November 30, 2021. REUTERS/Blair Gable/File Photo

MONTREAL, Jan 4 (Reuters) – Canada’s minister of transport on Tuesday called for an investigation into reports of maskless revelers on a recent airline flight, as the country battles soaring cases of COVID-19.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said on Twitter he had asked regulator Transport Canada to investigate media reports of passengers snapping selfies, drinking alcohol and congregating close together on a Sunwing Airlines flight.Report ad

The French-language Journal de Montreal said the Sunwing Airlines flight from Montreal to Cancun, Mexico, on Dec. 30 was chartered by a private group.

Sunwing, a Toronto headquartered leisure operator, and Transport Canada were not immediately available for comment.

“This is unacceptable behaviour from passengers that puts our cabin crew at enormous risk,” said Rena Kisfalvi, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) local which represents Sunwing flight attendants.

“We need the airlines and the federal government to support and protect our members against this kind of mob behaviour and make sure it never happens again.”

‘It’s just heartbreaking’: Swoop Airline refuses to let woman with Huntington’s disease board flight

From CBC News – link to source story

Angela Weeks’ family says she is capable of travelling alone but airline refuses to allow

Meghan Grant · CBC News · January 03, 2022

Angela Weeks, right, was refused her seat on a Swoop flight, says her husband Keith. Angela lives with Huntington’s disease and has involuntary movements which the family says led to airline staff refusing to honour her ticket. The family has received no word on whether they’ll be reimbursed. (Submitted by Keith Weeks)

An Alberta woman living with Huntington’s disease was refused her seat on a Swoop flight because of her involuntary movements and now the airline is refusing to allow her to fly unaccompanied despite being offered a doctor’s note stating she is capable of travelling alone, according to her family.

The airline tells CBC News she must travel with an attendant because — from the airline’s perspective — she can’t fly on her own.

Angela Weeks lives in Castor, Alta., with her husband Keith and their three daughters.

Seven years ago, Angela was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, a rare, genetic neurodegenerative condition. She’s been symptomatic for about a decade.

Angela was supposed to travel from one sister’s home in Brandon, Man., to another’s in Abbotsford, B.C. on Sunday but at the airport, airline staff refused to let her on the flight. 

“She was going to get to go on a little holiday to see her family and I get kind of a break from being a caregiver,” said Keith from his car after driving five hours to pick up his wife.

“Then someone does something like this. It’s just heartbreaking.”

Keith Weeks, left, says Swoop Airline staff refused to allow his wife Angela, middle, to board her flight from Manitoba to B.C. because of the involuntary movements she suffers from with Huntington’s disease. The family is pictured here with the couple’s three daughters as well as Keith’s brother and sister-in-law. (Submitted by Keith Weeks)

This week, Keith got what he calls a “mini vacation,” staying with a friend in Big River, Sask. with his three daughters. 

On Sunday, he got a call from his sister-in-law.

Staff at the Swoop counter had refused to allow Angela to board the airplane. They’d expressed concern about her involuntary movements and what it would mean for other passengers.

Keith says his wife’s tics all but disappear when she settles and relaxes. That’s what her sister, Natalie Degerness was trying to explain to the Swoop employee.

Still, Angela was turned away.

Airline says Angela ‘unfit’ for travel alone

Airline employees put a note on her file saying she had to travel with a companion and a doctor’s note. Keith says there will be a time when his wife’s disease will make those things necessary but for now, she’s capable of flying unaccompanied. 

Angela’s sister also says she is fine to fly on her own. She can feed herself, get dressed, walk, and use the washroom, according to Degerness, who says even the offer of a doctor’s note was refused by the airline. 

In a written statement provided to CBC News, Swoop disputed that saying Angela will only be allowed to travel on its flight in the future if she has “an attendant that can provide her assistance.”

The airline said its staff had determined Angela was “unfit to safely travel unaccompanied.”

Swoop apologized to Angela “for the disruption to her travel plans and any resulting discomfort and inconvenience.”

‘They screwed things up’

After being turned away at the airport, Angela’s sister and Keith made plans to meet in Regina on Monday. That meant a 10-hour round-trip for Keith and nearly eight hours for Degerness.

“I don’t think they realize just how much they screwed things up for people,” said Keith. 

At the very least, he wants to see the airline offer compensation for the extra travelling.

Finally, Keith wants airline employees to “handle things with some dignity and show some class.”

“I can understand being concerned about her movements and stuff for the person next to her, that they might get a little bit annoyed but, maybe take the time and get the [flight attendant] to explain to the people she’s sitting with what she has.”

‘Scary’ for the kids

The family wants Swoop to explain what was said to the consulting nurse which resulted in the refusal to board. They believe the employee lied about her abilities in order to keep her off the flight. 

Events like this make a punishing disease even more difficult for the Weeks family.

Angela’s movements mean people often stare at her, point, and sometimes laugh, says Keith.

She can no longer play sports and it’s even hard for her to play with her kids.

Plus, their three daughters each have a 50 per cent chance of being diagnosed with Huntington’s disease so when they witness their mom’s struggles, Keith says, “it’s scary for them.”

Omicron undercuts hopes of travel revival for Canadian Airlines

From American Journal of Transportation – link to source story

By: Sandrine Rastello | Jan 03 2022 at 02:21 AM | Air Cargo News  

Just when winter-weary Canadians typically seek travel to warmer locales, omicron threatens to undermine any potential revival for the country’s airline industry.

Canada’s air traffic recovery had already been lagging the U.S. even before the highly contagious Covid-19 variant emerged. Traffic at Canadian airport security checkpoints was 53% of 2019 levels in the first 19 days of December—the most recent numbers available—versus 84% in the U.S., according to data from transport security authorities.

The Canadian outlook is even more uncertain as omicron forces flight cancellations around the globe and prompts new restrictions in some countries. Onex Corp.’s WestJet Airlines, Canada’s second-largest carrier, said it will consolidate about 15% of scheduled flights through the end of January.

“We could not have anticipated the rapid and unpredictable impact of the omicron variant on our people and operations, coupled with prolonged frigid temperatures across Western Canada and global staffing shortages,” Interim Chief Executive Officer Harry Taylor said Thursday in a statement.

Six weeks ago, an upbeat outlook made Air Canada, the country’s largest airline, confident enough to exit the federal government’s emergency financial package. The stock has since plunged 10%. Air Canada is the second-worst performer on the seven-company Bloomberg Americas Airlines Index this year.

Canada court orders seizure of Air India, AAI dues on Devas investors’ plea

Devas shareholders have initiated action against govt to enforce $111 million arbitration award

From Business Standard – link to source story

Aneesh Phadnis & Arindam Majumder  |  Mumbai/Delhi |  January 3, 2022

Air India, aircraft, flights

A court in Canada has ordered seizure of amounts collected by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on behalf of Air India and the Airport Authority of India (AAI).

Separate orders were passed on November 24 and December 21 on pleas by shareholders of Devas Multimedia Private Limited, who have filed multiple petitions to enforce arbitration awards against the Indian government.

Around $6.8 million belonging to the Airport Authority of India has been seized as a consequence of the order. The exact amount due to Air India that is held up due to the order is not known.

The development comes weeks before the Tata group takeover of the national airline after a successful bid last year. The group has been granted indemnity from past legal claims in its shareholder agreement with the government.

Three shareholders of Devas who won a $111 million arbitration award against the government moved the Superior Court in Quebec for enforcement and on their applications the garnishment orders were issued.

“We will pursue the Indian government in courts worldwide to ensure the debts owed to Devas are satisfied. Our action in Canada has resulted in millions of dollars garnished by Devas shareholders, and represents the first fruits of a globally-focused effort to be paid,” said Matthew D McGill, partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and lead counsel for several shareholders.

“Devas shareholders have been clear from the start: Despite state-sponsored investigations intended to intimidate and scare-off the victims of India’s unlawful acts, we will continue to pursue the Indian government’s assets to satisfy the awards, while remaining open to an amicable settlement,” McGill added.

Emailed queries to the Ministry of Civil Aviation did not yield any response. “On the intervention of Air India’s counsel, the commercial division of the Quebec Superior Court accepted to designate a judge on an urgent basis to hear the applications of quash and seizures brought by Air India, AAI and IATA. The hearing will take place on January 4, a day on which court would normally be closed due to the holidays,” a senior government official said.

IATA assists airlines and air navigation service providers in collecting monies due from ticket sales and route navigation charges. Its billing and settlement plan (BSP) mechanism acts as a payment gateway for travel agents around the world. Remittances for ticket sales are made to an airline through the BSP. Similarly, it collects route navigation charges from foreign airlines operating to India and for flights overflying the country and passes them to the Airport Authority of India.

In FY 19-20, AAI earned Rs 3592 crore from airport navigational services (route navigation and terminal navigational and landing charges) and it accounted for nearly 28 per cent of its revenue.

Reacting to the order, Air India, on December 22, removed all its ticket inventory from global distribution systems (GDS). Travel agents use GDS platforms like Amadeus or Travelport for issuing tickets. The platforms are linked to IATA BSP which gets a record of all the sales carried out through this mechanism.

Over half of Air India sales come from GDS platforms and the sudden non-availability of its tickets created unease amongst travel agents.

“This is a nightmare during the festive season when most flights are full arriving into India and passengers need to connect to domestic destinations – often requiring rescheduling due to delays,” said Abbas Moiz, national general secretary of Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) in a press release on Monday.

Attempts to contact senior management have proved futile and sales persons have been stalling and attributing the problem to a technical issue without any official announcement, TAFI said in its Monday release. The Travel Agents Association of India too wrote to the airline seeking clarity about the disruption.

Last Wednesday Air India again put up its ticket inventory on GDS platforms but is allowing ticket issuance only with approved credit cards. Agents also received text messages that any ticket issued against cash will be canceled by Air India.

Payments through credit card are paid to the airline by bank or the credit card company. Though IATA keeps record of credit card sales it is not involved in the collection and remittance process.

Other than credit cards, agents have the option to do a bank transfer to IATA for ticket sales. These are known as cash sales and agents get up to seven days to make payments to IATA under this process.

How Jenny Tung brings an expert’s touch to Air Canada

Story is below Air Canada’s Twitter feed.

30 December 2021

From FlightGlobal – link to source story

By Pilar Wolfsteller | 22 December 2021

Airliner lavatories clog up more often than you think. Just ask Jenny Tung, an aircraft maintenance engineer with Air Canada. She is intimately familiar with the toilets in the air and it is her responsibility to ensure they keep on flushing.

Jet lavatories – along with headphone jacks, seat-back adjustment buttons and entertainment system screens – are among the most touched, and most frequently used items aboard any commercial aircraft, she says.

Jenny Tung of Air Canada

Source: Air Canada

Jenny Tung’s job requires that she travel with the Air Canada jets she maintains

Tung is qualified to fix everything from loose wires and clogged toilets to leaky engines. She is a plumber, mechanic, carpenter, technician, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) engineer, electrician and cleaner, all rolled into one.

Call her an aircraft whisperer.

“I don’t feel like I go to work every day,” says Tung. “I feel like I’m going out to play with the airplanes.”

CHANGING COURSE

The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Tung, 33, arrived in Canada when she was nine years old. She attended an academically-rigorous high school, where students were encouraged – and expected – to pursue university degrees.

But a year before she graduated, Tung discovered a love and a skill for repairing automobiles.

“I never knew how good I was with my hands until I started fixing cars,” she says. Just before she was ready to leave for university, she decided against it.

“My father was in the military, so he was all about discipline, and he always made me fold my blanket in a square,” Tung says. “But that summer I was very honest with myself. I knew that if I went away to university I was going to party my head off and not get very good grades.

“I decided to do trade school first, and maybe think about university later.”

She enrolled at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, where she completed a 16-month apprenticeship programme in aircraft maintenance, a course in which she was among just a handful of women.

While studying, Tung took a part-time job as a ramp agent – “tossing around 50-pound bags” and cleaning aircraft in an attempt to get her foot in the door.

“I knew I was going to have to be competitive, or employers just wouldn’t see me,” she says.

After graduating in 2008, she landed in a job and career that has taken her across the country – and has exposed her to an impressively wide range of aircraft, from business jets (“the Ferraris of airplanes”, she calls them) and commercial airliners (“big old buses”) to helicopters.

She is now at Air Canada, based in Vancouver, type-rated as a maintenance engineer for Airbus A320s and Boeing 767s, and working on the carrier’s corporate charter aircraft.

Unlike colleagues supporting Air Canada’s primary scheduled operation, Tung’s job requires that she travel with the jets she maintains. She might, for example, accompany a professional ice hockey team on an away-game trip criss-crossing North America for a week or more.

By comparison, most maintenance on Air Canada aircraft used for scheduled flights takes place while the jets are parked overnight.

“When we get to the ramp in the evening, we have a task card with specific jobs to complete,” she says. “We do everything mechanical. If a seat back doesn’t recline, we fix it. If an engine doesn’t start, we repair the problem. If a lavatory needs to be unclogged, we do that too. So we have to know the aircraft very well.”

Jenny Tung at work for Air Canada

Source: Air Canada

Tung’s responsibilities include performing maintenance on “everything mechanical”

Tung credits numerous mentors with helping set her up for success – people who went out of their way to treat her as a peer in a segment of the aviation industry that is still more than 97% male.

“A lot of people in maintenance will treat you differently just because of you being female,” she says. “My mentors never did that. They always gave me the same opportunities.

“I always joke with the guys that my purse is usually heavier than that toolbox,” she says.

But the journey has not been all fun and joshing. When economic hardship comes, it often affects the aviation industry first – and its workers.

“I got laid off eight times so far. That’s kind of just part of aviation,” Tung says. “The economy has fluctuated a lot. But I’m still here. I’m still doing this.”

Every time one door closed, every time crisis struck one part of the industry, Tung found new opportunities, and kept on learning.

JOB SATISFACTION

But what is the best part about working on big jets? For Tung, it is watching an engine come back to life following repairs.

“After certain checks, we have to do an engine run to make sure that it’s not leaking or malfunctioning. It’s very rewarding because you can see you did everything right, everything works and the engine performs the way it’s supposed to.”

On a recent night shift, Tung helped secure a repaired engine to the wing of a 787.

“In the morning, my parents took off to go back to Taiwan on that same aircraft,” she says. “Who can say that in their job they put the engine on the airplane that their parents flew across the Pacific? That’s a tremendous amount of responsibility and honour.

“I know the impact I have makes a huge difference,” she adds.

Which brings Tung back to the clogged toilet. So how do technicians clear the pipes?

“We have what’s called a lavatory snake. So we activate that toilet, and it creates a vacuum. We use the suction of one lavatory to unclog the other,” she says.

“It’s interesting and pretty disgusting. But it’s important too.”