Category: Sunwing

Sunwing introduces new weekly flight service from Waterloo to Cancun, Mexico

Provided by Sunwing Vacations Inc./Globe Newswire

TORONTO, July 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Residents of the Waterloo Region can look forward to twice as many ways to escape the cold this winter; Sunwing is doubling its destination offerings from the Region of Waterloo International Airport with the addition of a new direct weekly flight service to CancunMexico. The travel company is anticipated to be the only carrier offering this service which will operate from December 18, 2019 until April 8, 2020. In addition, their popular flight service to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic will operate weekly between December 16, 2019 and April 13, 2020.

Sunwing Vacations Inc.

Cancun has been a long-time favourite destination of Canadian sun-seekers. From the vibrant nightlife of Cancun’s Hotel Zone to the pristine white-sand shores of Playa Mujeres and the famous Mayan sites of Riviera Maya, there’s something for everyone to explore in this Mexican hotspot. Travellers can choose from a wide range of world-class resorts along the coast and explore all that Cancun has to offer on a Sunwing Experiences excursion.

President of Tour Operations for Sunwing, Andrew Dawson, welcomed the news. “We are delighted to be returning to the Waterloo Region and to be offering twice as many flight services this winter. Cancun is one of our most popular vacation destinations and we’re sure it will be well received by our customers.”

Chris Wood, General Manager at the Region of Waterloo International Airport also celebrated the news, “We are proud to welcome Sunwing back this year! Sunwing’s weekly service provides our community with an easy escape from the cold. Cancun, Mexico is a welcome addition to our existing Punta Cana service. I would like to thank Sunwing and all the people that support local air service. This additional destination is a direct response to each of you making the choice to fly from home!”

Families who take advantage of this new weekly flight service can enjoy an action-packed stay at Grand Sunset Princess All Suites and Spa Resort in Riviera Maya, that has something for guests of all ages. A popular family resort in Cancun is the newly-opened Riu Palace Costa Mujeres, offering accommodation options for families of five or more and complimentary, unlimited access to Splash Water World water park on-site. Travellers seeking an adults only getaway can choose from a range of popular resorts such as Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun where guests benefit from an exclusive beachfront, restaurant and pool complex while still enjoying access to all the amenities of the wider resort.

All Sunwing vacation packages include return flights on Sunwing Airlines where passengers can sit back and relax while on board, with award-winning inflight service, complimentary non-alcoholic beverage service and buy on board selection of snacks and light meals including the brand-new Tex Mex Grilled Chicken Wrap inspired by Food Network Canada Celebrity Chef, Lynn Crawford. Passengers also benefit from a generous complimentary 23kg checked luggage allowance. For additional perks, including priority check-in and security line access*, customers can upgrade to Elite Plus from just $50 per sector.

For more information or to book, visit www.sunwing.ca or contact your travel agent.

*Available at select Canadian airports.

Sunwing announces return of twice-weekly direct flights from Montreal to Havana

Provided by Sunwing Vacations Inc/Globe Newswire

TORONTO, July 16, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sunwing is making it easier for Montreal residents to explore Cuba’s capital, Havana, this coming winter. For the first time since 2012, the tour operator is offering a direct flight service twice a week on Mondays and Fridays from Montreal to Havana, from December 13, 2019 until March 13, 2020. With the addition of this returning route, Montreal travellers have more choices than ever for their tropical getaway, with 28 of the tour operator’s most popular destinations available from their doorstep this winter.

Sunwing Vacations Inc.

Celebrating its 500th anniversary this year, the capital city of CubaHavana has a rich history and fascinating heritage to uncover. Visitors will feel like they’ve travelled back in time as they stroll along the cobblestone streets of Old Havana, lined with picturesque Baroque architecture and classic American cars. Travellers can even follow in the footsteps of famous author Ernest Hemingway, who called the city home for over 20 years, by discovering some of his favourite old haunts on a Sunwing Experiences excursion.

Sam Char, Executive Vice President for Sunwing Travel Group in Quebec, commented on the news, “We are excited to once again be offering Montreal residents the popular direct flight service to Havana. As the world’s largest vacation provider to Cuba we’re thrilled to be offering even more vacation options in this varied destination that has a perennial appeal for our customers in Quebec.”

President and Chief Executive Officer of Aéroports de Montréal, Philippe Rainville, was pleased to welcome the new route, “We are delighted that our partner, Sunwing, is once again offering a direct flight to Havana, the historic heart of Cuba and a place that is especially popular with Quebecers. The addition of this flight further broadens air service from YUL for the benefit of all travellers looking for a little warmth during the long winter months.”

Sunwing offers a range of accommodation options in and around Havana, from laidback resorts by the beach to hotels in the heart of the city. Travellers who take advantage of the new direct flight service may choose to stay at Bravo Club Arenal, located just a short 20-minute drive from Old Havana where guests can soak in the local culture or kick back and relax poolside with a refreshing mojito. Vacationers could also opt for the Hotel Atlantico, offering the best of both worlds with a beautiful beach area and a complimentary shuttle service to downtown Havana.

All Sunwing vacation packages include return flights on Sunwing Airlines where passengers can sit back and relax while on board, with award-winning inflight service, complimentary non-alcoholic beverage service and buy on board selection of snacks and light meals including the Tex Mex Grilled Chicken Wrap inspired by Food Network Canada Celebrity Chef, Lynn Crawford. Passengers also benefit from a generous complimentary 23kg checked luggage allowance. For additional perks, including priority check-in and security line access*, customers can upgrade to Elite Plus from just $50 per sector.

For more information or to book, visit www.sunwing.ca or contact your travel agent.

*Available at select Canadian airports.

Sunwing introduces direct flight service to Miami from Greater Moncton

Provided by Sunwing Vacations Inc/Globe Newswire

TORONTO, July 11, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Good news for residents of Greater Moncton! The Sunshine State just got a little closer with the news that sunseekers will be able to fly direct to Miami from their local airport this winter. A new destination added by Sunwing for this coming season, travellers can experience all that this premier beach and nightlife destination has to offer with convenient weekly Saturday departures from February 8th, 2020 until May 2nd, 2020 inclusive. The first carrier to offer a direct flight service to Miami from Greater Moncton, Sunwing is expected to be the only airline offering this route for the coming season. With the addition of Miami, sunseekers departing from Greater Moncton now have six of the tour operator’s most popular southern destinations available on their doorstep including Puerto Plata and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, Montego Bay in Jamaica, Cancun, Mexico and Varadero, Cuba.

Sunwing introduces direct flight service to Miami from Greater Moncton.
Sunwing Vacations Inc.

Sunwing’s Vice President of USA and Cruises, Reg Mendes, commented on the news, “Miami is a hub for beach vacations, cruise getaways, city stays and much more. We’ve been offering sunshine flights from Greater Moncton since 2007 and we’re delighted to be providing travellers from this area with a direct flight to this vibrant destination together with even more convenient cruise package options.”

President and CEO of Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport, Bernard LeBlanc, welcomed the news, “Adding Miami as a new and unique destination as part of Sunwing’s already broad offerings from Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport is very exciting and will make cruise options more convenient and accessible than ever for our customers. We’re very happy to see Sunwing continue to grow their destinations for this upcoming winter season from our airport. It’s always a very positive sign when an airline partner trusts that our community can be successful in supporting additional air service.”

Sunwing offers travellers plenty of ways to experience Miami’s pristine beaches, stylish restaurants, famed nightlife and more. Customers who opt for a Florida vacation package receive a complimentary Alamo car rental included in their booking, with an upgrade to a mini-van when they book family-style accommodations with two bedrooms or more making it easier to explore Southern Florida. The tour operator also offers cruise packages that include return transfers from the airport to PortMiami.

Cruise aficionados, families and groups have plenty of options to choose from when they travel with Sunwing. Sailing from Miami this winter, MSC Seaside features exquisite architecture, excellent dining and entertainment together with an exciting splash park. Passengers also benefit from the Easy Drink beverage package offering a selection of complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Another popular option is Norwegian Escape, boasting 20 decks and upscale amenities including a thrilling zipline circuit and The Waterfront, a quarter-mile long oceanfront promenade lined with delicious restaurants and stylish bars. Additionally, travellers can experience more of Miami or Southern Florida before or after their Caribbean vacation when they choose to cruise and stay.

They could stay at Riu Plaza Miami, a stylish beachfront resort located near Miami’s local art galleries and lively clubs, or head to Sole on the Ocean, set on the shores of Sunny Isles Beach, that benefits from  an oceanfront pool . Also located nearby is Residence Inn Miami Sunny Isles Beach featuring spacious suites with fully-equipped kitchens and steps away from the beachfront. The tour operator also offers vacation packages accessible from Miami to other popular Southern Florida destinations such as Fort Lauderdale and Fort Myers.

All Sunwing vacation packages include return flights on Sunwing Airlines where passengers can sit back and relax while on board, with award-winning inflight service, complimentary non-alcoholic beverage service and a buy on board selection of snacks and light meals including the Tex Mex Grilled Chicken Wrap inspired by Food Network Canada Celebrity Chef, Lynn Crawford. Passengers who have purchased a cruise vacation package also benefit from a generous complimentary 23kg checked luggage allowance on their first checked bag. For additional perks, including priority check-in and security line access*, customers can upgrade to Elite Plus from just $50 per sector.

For more information or to book, visit www.sunwing.ca or contact your travel agent.

Sunwing Airlines First Officer Jessalyn Teed named one of WINGS magazine Top 20 Under 40 for 2019

Provided by Sunwing Vacation Inc/Globe Newswire

TORONTO, July 10, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sunwing Airlines is proud to announce that First Officer, Jessalyn Teed, has been named one of WINGS Top 20 Under 40 for 2019. Featured in the July/August issue of WINGS magazine, this award recognizes inspiring young leaders under the age of 40 who are influencing the Canadian aviation and aerospace industry.

Sunwing First Officer Jessalyn Teed standing in front of a Sunwing aircraft.
Sunwing Vacations Inc.

First Officer, Jessalyn Teed, 24, was one of the first graduates hired by the airline as part of their ongoing partnership with the University of Waterloo, a direct entry program for aviation cadets. In addition to her role at Sunwing, she continues to work closely with the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre, where she studied, on developing future initiatives including a course focused on multi-crew environments that will benefit future pilots. She has also been instrumental in the implementation of the soon-to-launch Sunwing Mentorship Program, which will partner experienced Sunwing pilots with new graduates and will be launching in the fall of 2019.

“We are extremely proud that one of our own First Officers was recognized for her accomplishments in the Canadian aviation industry,” said Piyush Gandhi, Vice President of Flight Operations for Sunwing Airlines, “Since graduating from our cadet program in partnership with the University of Waterloo Jessalyn’s career has gone from strength to strength. She has been an ambassador at the Canadian Women in Aviation conference and worked closely with our Diversity and Inclusion Committee (Y.A.Y!), during Women in Aviation Week to help highlight the opportunities that exist for women within the industry. In addition, she continues to lend her support to Girls Take Flight events. She is a valued member of the Sunwing Airlines team and we look forward to seeing all that she accomplishes in the future.”

Ian McKenzie, Director of Aviation for the University of Waterloo, also celebrated the news, “I would like to congratulate University of Waterloo alumna, Jessalyn Teed, on being named as one of the Top 20 Under 40 in Canada. Jessalyn excelled as a student, pilot, teaching assistant, volunteer and mentor. She has carried that excellence over in her growing career at Sunwing and exemplifies the true spirit of Canadian aviation.”

Since 2016, Sunwing has hired 24 pilots through its direct entry programs in partnership with the University of Waterloo and Seneca College. Last year, the airline announced a new partnership with Mount Royal University in Calgary. Aspiring pilots can find out more about opportunities at Sunwing by visiting the career site.

Canada’s Airlines, Airports Among World’s Worst For Delays, And It Could Soon Get Worse

News provided HuffingtonPost.ca – link to full article – with a hint from P.N.

By Daniel Tencer 4 July 2019

Under a new “passenger bill of rights,” airlines will be able to leave passengers stuck on the tarmac for longer than the current standard.
An airplane taking off at Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International
An airplane taking off at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport.

MONTREAL ― Canadian airports and airlines are some of the worst performers worldwide when it comes to flight delays, and new federal rules that allow passengers to be stuck on the tarmac for longer could make things worse.

All but one of Canada’s major airlines rank in the bottom half for on-time performance in a new survey from travel data provider OAG. 

Canada’s best performer, WestJet, ranks 57th out of 125 airlines surveyed, with 77.1 per cent of all flights arriving on time. The country’s worst performer, Sunwing, ranks as the second-worst airline in the world, 124th out of 125, with only 57.8 per cent of flights on time.

Sunwing experienced numerous flight glitches in recent years, including major delays in Toronto and Montreal in April, 2018, that led to a fine from the Canadian Transportation Agency.

Canada's Airlines, Airports Among World's Worst For Delays, And It Could Soon Get

Looking at airports, Canada doesn’t fare much better. Our best airport, in Grande Prairie, Alta., ranks 108th out of 505 airports surveyed.

Toronto’s two commercial passenger airports, Pearson and Billy Bishop, rank as the two worst airports in Canada and among the worst in the world ― 475th and 489th, respectively.

Interestingly, there is a yawning east-west divide, with western Canadian airports performing better than others.

Canada's Airlines, Airports Among World's Worst For Delays, And It Could Soon Get

The survey comes as Canada is about to launch a new “passengers’ bill of rights” that some critics say will make it easier for airlines to delay flights.

Under the new regulations, airlines will be able to keep passengers stuck on the tarmac for up to three hours, plus an additional 45 minutes if the airline believes takeoff is imminent.

Currently, Canada has no government-enforced limits on tarmac delays, but airlines themselves had standards built into their tariffs. The industry standard was 90 minutes, which is also what a Senate committee recommended be the rule in the new passenger bill of rights. The government rejected that recommendation.

Airlines themselves have been pushing for longer tarmac delays. Air Canada extended its maximum tarmac time to four hours in 2018.

Additionally, it will be very difficult to get compensation from airlines in most cases where flights are delayed or passengers are denied boarding, said Gabor Lukacs, a prominent consumer advocate who has challenged airline practices in courts.

Watch: Here are the budget airlines in Canada. Story continues below.

Lukacs said he worries about the possibility of longer delays under the new rules because “when something becomes legal, they will do it. On the other hand, the counterargument is it’s in the airline’s best interest to get passengers to their destination as quickly as possible.”

Lukacs’ advocacy group, Air Passenger Rights, has accused the government of letting the airline industry dictate the new passengers’ bill of rights.

A spokesperson for Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the tarmac delay rule was decided “based on operational realities and international best practices. For example, in the United States, air carriers are required to offer the option to disembark after a three hour delay on domestic flights, and a four hour delay on international flights.”

While airlines frequently blame weather for flight delays, data from the U.S. federal government shows that extreme weather events are responsible for fewer than 5 per cent of flight delays in the U.S. The most common reason for delays was late-arriving aircraft, meaning flights delayed because earlier flights were delayed. This accounted for nearly 42 per cent of U.S. delays. Canada does not currently keep track of this type of data.

But Lukacs points out that Canada has much harsher weather than most of the U.S., so it may not be a fair comparison. And Toronto’s worst-in-the-country Billy Bishop Airport has unique issues to deal with because it’s on an island.

“This may be an apples to oranges comparison,” he told HuffPost Canada by phone.

Nonetheless, Canada’s poor weather doesn’t explain why Alaska Airlines has a higher on-time percentage than any Canadian airline (80.7 per cent) and is the third best among U.S. airlines.

Lukacs argues these on-time rankings are incomplete: There isn’t enough data to determine, for instance, whether it’s a particular airport or a particular airline that’s behind delays in a given place.

Either way, airlines should be taking bad weather into account when planning their schedules, Lukacs said.

“If airlines and airports ignore the weather realities, then you have guaranteed, built-in failure,” he said.

‘I was panicking’: More passengers ask for help following Sunwing flight cancellations

News provided by CBC News – link to full story – with a hint from P.N.

Airline says it will compensate affected passengers who rebooked on other airlines

By Sophia Harris · CBC News · Posted: Jul 01, 2019

The Canadian Transportation Agency received 46 complaints involving Sunwing flight cancellations between May 1 and June 25. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press)

Sunwing said on Friday it will compensate passengers who had to pay extra to rebook on other airlines after the carrier cancelled a spate of flights in May and June. 

The flight cancellations sparked anger and frustration, with a total of 46 passengers filing complaints with the Canadian Transportation Agency.

Twenty-three of the complaints involved cancelled flights between Toronto and Vancouver. Those cases, plus three others, were connected to the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft, the CTA said. It didn’t provide details for the remaining 20 cases. 

CBC first reported on the flight cancellations in May when a family of 10 requested help after Sunwing cancelled their flight from Toronto to their home of Vancouver, with just four days’ notice. The family said the airline offered to fly them home nine days after their original departure date. 

After being contacted by CBC, Sunwing flew the family home on time on a different airline. 

Following that story, CBC received more than 20 complaints from other Sunwing passengers. Many plead for help, saying the airline also cancelled their flights on short notice, leaving them with untenable options, such as a new flight on a different date or a refund on tickets that, if rebooked now for the same date, would cost much more on another airline.

Many of the passengers who contacted CBC News didn’t file a complaint with the CTA, saying they didn’t know that was an option. That includes Laryssa Gorecki, who said Sunwing gave her five days’ notice it had cancelled her round-trip flight from Toronto to Vancouver, set to depart on June 1. 

“I was panicking,” said the Toronto high school teacher, who was headed to Vancouver to make a presentation at a national conference for educators. 

Laryssa Gorecki is shown in Vancouver, where she attended an educators conference. Because Sunwing cancelled her flight to the West Coast city, she spend an extra $590 to rebook on another airline. (Submitted by Laryssa Gorecki)

Gorecki said Sunwing only offered her a refund or an alternate flight on unsuitable dates. In desperation, she rebooked on another airline, paying an extra $590 — on top of her refund — for a last-minute flight.

“I didn’t have a choice,” she said, calling her experience with Sunwing disappointing. “They’re unreliable, irresponsible, and it just left a really bad taste in my mouth.”

Larry Peloso, left, and his husband, Andy Neilson, wait at a smaller airport in London, Ont., for their flight to B.C. (Submitted by Larry Peloso)

Fellow Torontonian Larry Peloso is also upset over his experience with Sunwing. He and his husband booked a round-trip flight from Toronto to Vancouver, departing on May 31, to attend his nephew’s wedding.

Peloso said the airline informed him eight days before departure that the couple’s flights were cancelled, and offered to rebook them on unworkable dates. 

“I booked this in February, and for them to call me at the end of May just seemed to me to be very bad [customer service],” he said. 

Peloso begrudgingly took a refund and, to avoid incurring added costs for last-minute flights, rebooked their trip on an ultra-low-cost carrier that flies out of smaller airports outside of Toronto and Vancouver. The new flights added about six hours’ driving time to the itinerary, which meant the couple had to each take an extra day off work, rent a car and rearrange some of their other travel plans.

“We sort of made the best of a bad situation. And as far as I’m concerned, Sunwing washed their hands of the entire thing,” said Peloso. “They lost a customer and lost a lot of goodwill.”

Why the cancellations?

In its response to CBC News, Sunwing implied that the 737 Max groundings were behind all of its recent flight cancellations. The airline didn’t specify how many passengers or flights were affected.

A number of airlines grounded their Max fleet in mid-March following two fatal crashes involving the model. Sunwing has four 737 Max planes, which make up less than 10 per cent of its fleet.

To avoid disruptions, the airline said it hired third-party carriers to replace its grounded aircraft — but this solution suddenly hit a snag. 

“Unfortunately, we were not able to source additional flying capacity to cover all our routes this summer and did need to make some cancellations in late May,” said Sunwing spokesperson Jacqueline Grossman in an email. 

“This was unforeseen at the time of accepting reservations for our summer program and while regrettable, it was beyond the control of the company.”

The airline said it made every effort to contact affected passengers in a timely manner and initially offered them the option of a refund or a flight on an alternate date.

Sunwing said it later modified its policy to offer affected passengers with departures in July and onward flights on other airlines on their original travel dates, at no extra cost.

“Customer satisfaction is of paramount importance to us and we sincerely regret the inconvenience that our customers experienced,” said Grossman. 

What about the other passengers?

Following a second CBC inquiry, Sunwing said that passengers with departure dates before July who rebooked on other airlines at an added expense will be reimbursed. 

The airline also said it would contact Laryssa Gorecki to refund her the extra money she paid out of pocket to rebook her flight. 

“It was a bumpy road but I’m just happy that they’re coming through with it,” Gorecki said. 

Peloso is less excited about the news, as he doubts he’ll be compensated for having to take an extra day off work or for the hours he spent driving to out-of-town airports. “It’s sort of too little, too late.”

Affected Sunwing passengers who believe they’re entitled to compensation can submit receipts and fill out a post-travel complaint form on Sunwing’s website

Sunwing Updates Operational Changes

News provided by TravelPress.com – link for full article

Posted on June 17, 2019

Due to the extension of the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, Sunwing has taken measures to optimize its operations by investing in additional flying capacity and re-configuring its schedule without this aircraft type until further notice.

Schedule changes for departures up to and including Sept. 2 have now been made and are reflected in the carrier’s flight times on its web site and across the reservation system.

If a customer’s travel plans have been affected, Sunwing will communicate this directly to their travel agent.

“We are currently still finalizing any schedule adjustments beyond this departure date and are working hard to ensure these changes will have minimal impact on our operations and on customer experience,” Sunwing said in a statement.

A first in Quebec: 1,200 participants expected to run YQB’s runway

Provided by Aéroport de Québec/CNW

QUÉBEC CITY, May 10, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – On Saturday, August 24, 2019, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) will be holding the first YQB 5K, where some 1,200 participants will have the chance to run the airport’s main runway. The YQB 5K is a unique opportunity for people in the Québec City area to see the airport from a different angle—one that’s normally not available to the public. This type of race has already proven successful at other Canadian airports, but this will be a first in Quebec. Avjet and Air Canada have partnered with the airport to sponsor the event.

“I’m thrilled with the idea of welcoming more than 1,000 people from the greater Québec City area to our airport. I can’t wait to bring them to the heart of the action, where planes take off and land every day. YQB’s employees and partners are working hard to make this an exciting experience for the runners and everyone who comes to cheer them on. The entire airport community has stepped up to help with this event, which will support two leading local organizations,” stated Stéphane Poirier, President and CEO of YQB.

This promises to be a festive and family-friendly event with a quick course. Participants can take advantage of their trip to the airport to get a behind-the-scenes look at airport operations and see some interesting equipment, including aircraft.

The money raised for this event will go to the Fondation CERVO, which supports mental health research, and Centraide Québec et Chaudière-Appalaches, which supports a large network of community organizations.

Registration opens on May 10, 2019, at 5kmyqb.com. The first 200 participants will receive an early-bird rate.

Date: Saturday, August 24, 2019
Time: 7AM to 12 PM
Location: Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport
5K starting price: $30 early-bird rate (first 200 participants) and $35 normal rate until June 15
1.5K starting price: $10 per child

Thank you to our partners

This unique event is made possible by the help of numerous partners: Avjet, Air Canada, Air Transat, Sunwing, PAL Airlines, Le Soleil and Rouge FM.

Garneau calls for flight simulators before Max 8s can return to Canadian skies

News provided by TravelWeek.ca/The Canadian Press

Garneau calls for flight simulators before Max 8s can return to Canadian skies

Thursday, April 18, 2019 | By: The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — Transport Minister Marc Garneau says airlines hoping to fly the Boeing 737 Max 8 in Canadian airspace must first train their pilots using a flight simulator.

The call goes further than recommendations from U.S. regulators as training procedures for the grounded plane come under continued scrutiny following two deadly crashes.

“Simulators are the very best way, from a training point of view, to go over exactly what could happen in a real way and to react properly to it,” Garneau said.

“It’s part of it – the software fixes… and the training itself, which in my mind requires simulation time,” he said at an event in Montreal Wednesday.

Garneau’s comments highlight the potential hurdles to landing on a common set of standards and getting the Max 8 back into the air.

Until recently, most U.S. airlines did not require flight simulation for pilots of the Max 8, which aviation authorities across the globe grounded in the wake of the deadly Ethiopian Airlines tragedy on March 10. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that American Airlines will start to use flight simulators, a significant shift.

“As a result of the continuing investigation into both aircraft accidents, we are looking at the potential for additional training opportunities in co-ordination with the FAA and Allied Pilots Association,” American Airlines said in an email Wednesday.

On Tuesday, however, a panel appointed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said pilots will not need new training on flight simulators to learn how to operate the Boeing jet. The group said in a draft report that computer and classroom instruction about new anti-stall software should be adequate for pilots who have flown earlier versions of the 737.

Garneau said he feels “strongly about simulators,” stressing their effectiveness and drawing on his experience as an astronaut.

“From our point of view, it’s not going to be a question of pulling out an iPad and spending an hour on it,” he added, referencing an American Airlines pilots union statement that pilots who were already qualified for Boeing 737-800s took a one-hour, iPad-based training program to fly the Max 8.

Garneau closed Canadian skies to the Max 8 last month over safety concerns arising from the erratic flight path of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that bore startling parallels to a fatal Lion Air crash off the coast of Indonesia on Oct. 29.

The two flights, both on Max 8s, killed a total of 346 people, including 18 Canadians on board the Ethiopian Airlines flight.

The global grounding of more than 375 Max 8s has impacted scores of airlines, including Air Canada, WestJet Airlines Inc. and Sunwing Airlines Inc.

Air Canada – where 24 Max 8s make up about 10 per cent of its main 243-plane fleet – froze its sunny 2019 financial guidance last month “in light of the current uncertainty.” Older replacement aircraft such as the Airbus A320 are not as fuel efficient and others can only avoid maintenance for so long before heading back to the hangar, further reducing capacity.

Garneau’s remarks came after an announcement highlighting new incentives to buy electric cars.

Starting next month, Canadians who buy or lease an eligible electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will get $5,000 off the purchase, Garneau said. Shorter-range plug-in hybrid cars come with a $2,500 incentive.

The minister said Transport Canada is working out the logistics of the discount “at lightning speed,” with plans on how to dole it out still uncertain as the clock ticks down to May 1.

The 2019 budget set aside $300 million for the federal purchase incentive.

Canadian Transportation Agency issues determination in Sunwing inquiry – Sunwing to pay $694,500 penalty

Provided by Canadian Transportation Agency/CNW

GATINEAU, QC, April 8, 2019 /CNW/ – The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) today issued its determination, in the matter of widespread service issues experienced by passengers on Sunwing flights to or from Toronto Pearson International Airport or Montréal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, between April 14 and 18, 2018.

A CTA designated enforcement officer subsequently issued a Notice of Violation against the airline.

Findings

The CTA found that Sunwing did not properly apply its scheduled international tariff rules in respect of:

  • flight delays, including the provision of hotel and meal vouchers to passengers;
  • communication, including communication on flight status and information about delayed or lost baggage; and
  • tarmac delays.

Additionally, the CTA found that the Montreal Convention applies to any Sunwing baggage and delay claim related to this event. The CTA also found that, in circumstances such as these, the airline is responsible for any failings by its agents who provide services on its behalf.

Compensation

Sunwing must compensate passengers for out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a consequence of its failure to properly apply the terms and conditions set out in its Scheduled International Tariff no later than June 28, 2019. 

As the Montreal Convention applies to all of its international flights, Sunwing must also compensate passengers for reasonable expenses incurred as a result of flight delays experienced by passengers or loss, damage or delay to passengers’ baggage. 

These expenses include:

  • expenses for hotel accommodations, transfers to hotels and meal expenses incurred as a result of the delay; and
  • expenses for lost, delayed or damaged baggage, including the cost of replacement items.

This Determination addresses the 574 active complaints filed by individual passengers with the CTA. Sunwing must make every effort to contact the passengers and settle expense claims individually with all passengers who are owed compensation, whether or not they submitted complaints. The parties can avail themselves of the CTA’s facilitation and mediation services, which are available free of charge, to the extent required to reach agreement on compensation.

The CTA does not have the statutory authority to award general damages or compensation to passengers for matters such as any inconvenience, stress, pain and suffering, or loss of vacation time.

Penalty

In addition to compensation owed to passengers, a CTA Designated Enforcement Officer has issued a penalty of $694,500 against the airline. Sunwing has until May 10, 2019 to pay the penalty.

Orders

Sunwing must prepare a contingency plan to ensure it meets its tariff obligations in cases of future widespread flight disruptions. Information on this plan must be provided to the CTA no later than August 30, 2019.

In addition, Sunwing must revise and refile its lost or damaged baggage international tariff provisions to be consistent with the Montreal Convention, no later than May 8, 2019.

Quote

“This is a significant determination for air passengers and air carriers.  It underscores that passengers have rights and recourse when their air travel is disrupted, and that even when problems stem from events such as bad weather, there is a minimum standard of treatment to which all passengers are entitled.”

– Scott Streiner, Chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency

For more information

Determination 
Notice of ViolationInquiry Officer’s Report   
Canadian Transportation Agency extends its inquiry into Sunwing flight incidents to include Montreal flights    
Canadian Transportation Agency launches inquiry     
Enforcement actions taken by the CTA’s enforcement officers
Types of enforcement actions and contraventions