News provided by Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 9 October 2019 – Today, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released its investigation report (A19A0012) on the 4 March 2019 loss of control during rollout of a Boeing 767-375 aircraft at Halifax/Stanfield International Airport, Nova Scotia.
The TSB conducted a limited-scope, fact-gathering investigation into this occurrence to advance transportation safety through greater awareness of potential safety issues.
Loss of control during rollout Air Canada Boeing 767-375, C-FTCA Halifax/Stanfield International Airport, Nova Scotia 04 March 2019
History of the flight
At 1551Footnote1 on 04 March 2019, the Air Canada Boeing 767-375 aircraft (registration C-FTCA, serial number 24307), operating as flight ACA614, departed Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport (CYYZ), Ontario, for an instrument flight rules flight to Halifax/Stanfield International Airport (CYHZ), Nova Scotia, with 2 flight crew members, 6 cabin crew members and 211 passengers on board.
At approximately 1738, the weather at CYHZ was below approach minimums for the runway in use at the estimated time of arrival, so the aircraft entered a holding pattern to wait for the weather conditions to improve as forecast. At approximately 1814, the weather conditions had improved sufficiently to conduct an approach and the Moncton Area Control Centre (ACC) controller provided vectors for an approach to Runway 32, which the crew accepted.
At 1817:03, as the aircraft was proceeding to Runway 32, the Halifax terminal controllerFootnote2 issued the crew the CYHZ aerodrome special meteorological report (SPECI) from 1809, which indicated visibility 1¼ statute miles (SM) in light freezing drizzle and mist; vertical visibility 200 feet above ground level (AGL); temperature and dew point both −1 °C. The controller added the current winds—wind 350° magnetic (M) at 20 knots, gusting to 30 knots, and the altimeter setting of 29.14 inches of mercury. The terminal controller also offered the crew the option of landing on Runway 23, because it had just become available. Runway 23 is longer than Runway 32, and has a precision approach system with lower approach minimums. However, Runway 23 had a crosswind component of 17 knots gusting to 26 knots, and a tailwind of 10 knots gusting to 15 knots. Because of the longer runway and the precision approach, the crew accepted vectors for the category II precision approach to Runway 23. The crew adjusted the aircraft’s instruments to the required settings and briefed the Runway 23 approach.
At 1817:36, the Halifax terminal controller relayed the runway surface condition (RSC) report that was issued at 1808Footnote3 for Runway 23 to both the occurrence crew and the crew of an Embraer aircraft that was flying ahead of it. Both crews were planning to land on Runway 23. The RSC for Runway 05/23 indicated a 160-foot centreline, 20% compacted snow, 80% bare and wet, remaining width 70% wet snow 1 inch, 30% bare and wet. Based on this RSC, a Canadian Runway Friction Index was not provided, nor was one required.
The Embraer aircraft landed on Runway 23 at 1822. After providing the crew with instructions to exit the runway onto Taxiway A at the end of the runway, the Halifax tower controllerFootnote4 asked the crew for comments on the approach. The crew replied, “we had the fieldFootnote5 at 300 feet; braking action was very poor, actually”. Once the aircraft was off the runway, the crew switched to the Halifax ground controller’s frequency and reported that the runway was “very, very icy; it’s basically a skating rink“.
At 1824:22, the Halifax tower controller relayed the braking action report to the crew of a DHC-8 aircraft that was on approach for Runway 32, stating that the Embraer crew reported, “lights in sight at 300 [feet] AGL on that approach, and braking action was poor on Runway 23.”
Canadian’s have always gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to cheap air fare, but that finally might be changing!
Swoop Airlines is a new discount airline that has launched in selected (smaller) airports throughout Canada, and they are offering some sweet ticket prices.
Living in Kelowna, I don’t have a lot of choices when it comes to direct flights. I’ll be honest, YLW airport sucks in its offering of non-stop destinations. When I first moved to Kelowna we at least had a direct to San Francisco and Los Angeles, but they slowly fizzled out and left us with just a few direct options.
However, Swoop Airlines just moved in and they are offering a few direct flights that caught my eye! Winnipeg for $79 and Las Vegas for $99. Those are some INCREDIBLY low prices for direct flights out of Kelowna.
My brother Cody lives in Winnipeg, but I can’t say I’m regularly tempted to fly over to visit him. (Sorry bro!) A one-way flight on WestJet or Air Canada is usually $250-$450 and all flights have at least one stop-over. The moment I saw I could get to Winnipeg for $79, I booked the flight instantly! $450 is a hard sell for me, but $79 I can do!
Now here is where people get concerned with a low-cost airline. They start to worry about the maintenance of the planes, how uncomfortable it might be in-flight, or how many extra fees will get tacked on for bags, water, or even breathing.
I’ve got you covered.Here is everything I experienced during my recent flight on Swoop from Kelowna to Winnipeg on September 18th 2019.
Swoop Airlines Review
Is Swoop’s website easy to use?
The site is super easy to use and very straight forward. It looks like any other major airline website and wasn’t sneaky or hard to understand in anyway.
They allow you to choose a seat (paid) add carry-on or checked baggage (paid) or you can hold off to do that at check-in or at the airport. Just know, if you buy baggage or seats DURING your initial booking, it will be cheaper. But more on that later.
Does Swoop have hidden fees in the fare pricing?
The price advertised was $79 and that’s what it was at the end of the day. The airfare was actually only $48, then after taxes and fees, came out to a total of $79. Great! No surprises there! I was half expecting it to double in price by the time I had just run through taxes, fees, and weird hidden surcharges – but thankfully that never happened.
Can you bring ANY type of luggage on Swoop for Free?
YES! They allow a free ‘personal item’ on board.
They classify this as something that can fit under the seat in front of you, like a small backpack, purse, laptop bag, or briefcase.
If you can pack a super smart bag, you could likely get away with just using this personal item allowance for a short trip.
Here are the official dimensions they allow for your personal item: 16” x 6” x 13” (41cm x 15cm x 33cm)
How much is CARRY-ON BAGGAGE with Swoop?
Now here is where you can start to rack up a bill with Swoop, but truth be told, it’s STILL cheaper than flying with Canada’s other two carriers, even if you buy all the add-ons.
Carry-on baggage starts at $35.
I was visiting my brother in Winnipeg on my way down south for the winter. Since I had to carry everything I needed for 6 months with me on this trip, I had no choice but to purchase BOTH the carry-on bag and the checked bag through Swoop. If I was just flying there for a weekend to see him, I could make it work with just the free personal item.
My carry-on bag from Kelowna to Winnipeg was $35 CAD.
Carry-on Baggage weight and size restrictions:
If you are considering buying a carry-on bag for a Swoop flight, know that it MUST fit within these dimensions: 21” x 9” x 15” (52cm x 23cm x 38cm).
But here is a fun tip – Swoop does NOT limit how much your carry-on bag can weigh.
Fees for carry-on bags on Swoop:
The cost for carry-on baggage will vary depending on two things:
If your flight is within Canada, or going to the states
If you purchase it at booking, or later on at check in or at the airport
You can buy a carry-on bag for as low as $35 as long as you do it at the time of booking.
Each moment that your flight draws closer it goes up in price. If 30 seconds after you book your flight you decide you want to buy a carry-on bag, it’s now $40. When you go to check-in for your flight 24 hours before departure, it’s now $45. If you wait until you reach the check-in counter at the airport, it’s now gone up to $50. The worst price is definitely if you wait until last minute until the gate, about to board your flight – here they will charge you a whopping $70 for your carry-on bag.
How much is CHECKED BAGGAGE with Swoop?
Checked baggage is around the same cost as carry-on baggage. It starts at $35.
Checked Baggage weight and size restrictions:
Your checked baggage with Swoop can weigh 50lbs MAX
Maximum dimensions: 157 cm (62 in.) total combined dimension (length + width + height)
You obviously get a bigger dimension allowance, but be warned, they are STRICT about their 50lb maximum weight policy.
As I was in line at the check-in counter I saw them make a girl who was only 2lbs over take items out of her luggage.
I was sweating with nerves because I knew my checked bag was shoved full of stuff for the next 6 months of travel. I don’t have a scale at home, so I crossed my fingers and prayed I would be okay.
When I put my bag up on the scale at the counter it weighed 55.3lbs. DANG!
She gave me two options: I could either find 5.3 lbs of stuff to take out of my checked bag OR I could pay the $106 overweight fee. There was NO way I was paying $106 for 5lbs, so I dug out 2 sweaters and my leather jacket and put them on over my t-shirt. Yep, I felt like Chandler from friends. I was still 1.5 lbs overweight, so I had to take out some items and shove them into my already brimming carry-on.
I put my checked luggage back on the scale and low and behold it came in at EXACTLY 50.0lbs. Success! The check-in attendant told me it’s better to buy a 2nd checked bag for $50 at time of booking instead of the $106 over-weight charge for next time.
Fees for Checked Bags on Swoop:
The cost for checked baggage will vary depending on two things:
If your flight is within Canada, or going to the states (states is $5 more)
If you purchase it at booking, or later on at check in or at the airport
Just like the carry-on baggage, the checked baggage is also on a sliding tier scale. You will get the lowest price ($35) for your checked bag at time of booking, and it will go up to $70 by the time you reach the gate.
How does Seat Selection work on Swoop?
FREE: You will be automatically assigned a random seat upon check-in. This random selection is free, so if you are budget conscious, just roll the dice.
PAY: To pick ANY seat on the plane ahead of time, even the worst one, it will cost you. Prices for seat selection at time of booking range from $10-$50, and if you wait until check in you will pay anywhere from $20-$70. (approx $10 more per seat if you wait.)
Since my TOTAL bill for a direct flight to Winnipeg was only $150, even after buying both a checked bag and a carry-on bag, I decided to really go all out and buy a seat in the emergency row. Of course, I waited until check-in so I could give Swoop some extra money.
The emergency row seat cost me $40 at check-in, 24 hours before the flight.The best part of buying this seat was that no one else on my flight decided it was worth the extra $40. I had the entire row to myself, including the row across the aisle. Most of the regular seats on the flight were full, which made it extra luxurious to have the entire area to myself.
Here is the pricing tier for seat selections on Swoop:
Are the seats really crowded on Swoop?
Swoop says their normal seats give 74-76 cm of leg room (that’s 29-30 inches).
If we compare that to other flights heading to Winnipeg, WestJet has one flight with 76 cm and one with 79 cm. Air Canada also ranges from 76 cm up to 81 cm depending on the type of aircraft.
So, if you’re on a Swoop flight with 76 cm in their ‘base’ seat, you might find the exact same leg room on certain WestJet and Air Canada flights also providing 76 cm. (Usually a Bombardier Dash-8).
If you fly a 737 or an a320 on WestJet or Air Canada, you’ll likely have 79 cm to 81cm, making them much roomier than Swoop.
Now, I did fly in the emergency row which gave me lots of extra room. Swoop’s website says their ‘extra-pitch’ seats give 86 cm to 96 cm of legroom(34-38 inches). While I didn’t whip out my measuring tape to see exactly what mine was, it felt extremely spacious.
By the way, seats have a USB plug and 110v plug, which makes any small seat a little more comfortable.
Does Swoop charge for water?
You bet! And I’m cool with that. I would rather score a ticket for $79 and have to pay for my own water than pay $450 for the same flight that offers free water or pop. In reality, we should all be bringing empty re-usable bottles through security and filling them up for free at the many water fountains.
Does Swoop serve food and drinks?
Yes they do, of course for a fee. The prices are pretty decent considering they are on a flight.
Soft Drinks $1.99
Alkaline Water $3.29
Chocolate Bars $2.99
Hummus and Lentil Crackers $4.49
Beef Jerky $4.49
Mr. Noodles $3.49
Instant Pho $5.49
Snack Plate $6.99
You are allowed to bring your own water, pop, coffee and food on-board to consume if you don’t want to by airplane food. Most food you can bring through security but remember all drinks will have to be purchased post-security.
Is there Wi-Fi on Swoop?
There is Wi-Fi on Swoop flights, for a fee.
They don’t have the prices listed on their website and some forums say it’s based on the type/length of flight. Rates should be around $6.49/1 hour and $8.99/3 hours.
My Personal Swoop Experience
Everything was really equal to flying with any other Canadian airline. Booking, checking in, etc was all pretty similar. If anything, the below observations are because I am looking at Swoop with a very critical “I’m going to write a review about you” eye.
Here are the small differences I noticed flying with Swoop:
• They are hardcore about the 50-pound maximum for checked baggage. Don’t expect to get any leniency with Swoop.
• Post security, at the gate, they seemed a little behind schedule and disoriented. They called for families and anyone needing additional time/assistance to come up first and then held them there for a good 15 minutes without processing any of them through. The plane was there, and it was empty, so I am not sure what caused the delay.
• The flight did depart slightly late, but just a few minutes
•I guess it was a different experience to be nickeled and dimed with each tiny detail of the trip, but I still enjoyed a much lower fare than I would have with the full-service competitors.
• Service levels were not as hands on because the flight attendants don’t come through offering free drinks and pretzels to everyone. You really only see them for the safety demo and if you elect to buy something.
• Were the seats less padded? I couldn’t help but notice my butt didn’t feel as cushioned, but that might be me imagining things. Also, I am kind of a high maintenance flyer and I am usually doing everything I can to find a lay-flat business class seat, so I might just be extremely spoiled and biased. Sorry I have no data to confirm my suspicions on this one.
Once on board I didn’t notice anything different about the actual flight itself. The plane looked and felt like every other 737 I’ve ever been on. Sometimes I think people suspect flying with a budget airline means flying on a lower end plane, but they are really all the same metal tube in the sky. We took off and landed without any events, which is always a blessing. Once we touched down in Winnipeg the plane went right to the gangway and we departed within a few minutes. Baggage came quickly. The entire experience went well!
Where does Swoop Airlines Fly
Swoop is able to keep their prices super low by only flying out of secondary and smaller airports in Canada. The fees and taxes are lower, which helps keep ticket prices down.
However, they still fly to some major airports and top destinations!
International Swoop Destinations:
Domestic Swoop Destinations:
My Rating of Swoop Airlines
I would give my experience with Swoop an 8/10.(taking into consideration it’s a budget economy flight!)
I really didn’t have any kind of a negative experience at all, but of course the main reason for such a high score really boils down to price. I love a good deal, and when I can pair that with cutting my flight down from a 1-stop to a direct flight, even better!
Now that Swoop has a $99 flight from Kelowna direct to Las Vegas, I think that is a great way to get down to the US for cheap, even if Vegas isn’t my final destination. I’m looking forward to trying that service and seeing what it’s like.
Would I recommend Swoop?
I actually did today! My friends are looking to come and visit me in Mazatlan this winter and they can fly DIRECT from Abbotsford to Mazatlan for next to nothing. On WestJet their total cost for 2 round-trip tickets was going to be $1900 and with Swoop it will only be $800. 50% off!
Edmonton, Alberta, Sept. 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Flair Airlines, Canada’s only truly independent low cost airline, is pleased to report an average passenger load factor of 92% for July & August 2019.
“We are delighted with the rapidly growing number of Canadians who have flocked to Flair this summer” said CEO Jim Scott. He continued ,“After only one year as an exclusively scheduled carrier we have established Flair as the place to go for low fares, great service and are already recognizing many return customers.”
During the summer, Edmonton-based Flair flew from Vancouver, Abbotsford, Kelowna, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and Halifax. Flair successfully initiated daily non-stop service between Toronto (YYZ) and Vancouver as well as between Toronto and Calgary.
Over the last few months, as part of it’s fleet renewal program, Flair has added three newer Boeing 737-800NG aircraft and is gradually phasing out it’s older B737-400’s. All three additions sport Flair’s distinctive new livery and logo.
By next summer Flair plans to be operating a single-type fleet of B737-800 NG‘s, which are more fuel efficient and also have longer range capabilities. Flair’s unified fleet will open up a number of exciting southern destinations offered at accessible rates.
While Flair’s year-to-date on-time performance has been one of the best in Canada, the younger aircraft should serve to make it even better.
Mabata Honesty Shop has no staff on site — just a mailbox for cash and card reader for payment
Frances Willick · CBC News · Posted: Jul 20, 2019
Two Halifax-area entrepreneurs are banking on the honesty of their customers.
Najib Faris and Francesco Stara opened a kiosk at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport last week offering sandwiches, snacks, kombucha and other fare made with local ingredients.
What makes the Mabata Honesty Shop different from other vendors, though, is that the shop has no staff on site.
There is no one waiting to take your cash or process your payment — customers are trusted to take what they want and pay using the tablet and card reader or by dropping cash in a mailbox.
“We took a leap of faith and invested our trust in people,” said Faris.
The idea sprang from visits that Faris and Stara made to nearby farms to pick up produce for their Bedford restaurant, Mabata Glocal Eatery.
“We were so surprised with the idea — you know, you grab a sack of potatoes and drop in 10 bucks in the bucket and leave. And we’re like, wow, this is amazing.”
The pair believed the honesty system often employed at farm-gate stands could easily be exported to an urban setting. And they thought Halifax was the perfect place to give it a try.
“Nova Scotia has always been known as a place where honesty goes above all and a place where people really still hold onto the true core values of humanity — which is rare these days in the world.”
Faris said his trust in Nova Scotians stems from both his interactions with people and the results of a lost-wallet experiment. That experiment, conducted by Atlantic Credit Unions in December 2017, saw 12 wallets each containing $100 left in public places around Atlantic Canada. Nine of the 12 were returned with the money untouched.
So far, Faris’s trust has been well placed. The kiosk has seen a 100 per cent payment rate and no theft since it opened on July 10.
Some customers have even left thank-you notes or a gift card.
“It’s that level of honesty that we’re so, so humbled and proud to see in this city,” said Faris.
The Mabata Honesty Shop has received support from Saint Mary’s University’s Entrepreneurship Centre, which provided the kiosk and some consultation free of charge.
“We thought it was pretty far out, to be honest,” said Jason Turner, the centre’s senior project manager, of the idea of trusting unsupervised customers to pay for their food.
But the enthusiasm of Faris and Stara was enough to convince the centre’s staff to support the project.
“We thought if they’re pretty keen on it — and they certainly were, you know, kind of came out as guns blazing with this idea — we thought, ‘What the heck? Let’s give it a shot.'”
Honesty shops worldwide
The kiosk at the airport is not the only example of a so-called “honesty shop.”
Faris said he has heard of a grocery store in Japan, a bottled-water kiosk in Dublin and an art shop in Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Art that also operate on the honesty system, as well as cafés that sell self-serve coffee on the honour system.
Some honesty shops, however, have not fared so well.
One such shop located in the lobby of the Manila Police Department’s headquarters — just a few metres away from a security guard — had to be closed after someone repeatedly raided the cash box.
The Mabata Honesty Shop will be open until August, but Faris said he’s in discussions with the airport to maintain a permanent presence there.
He said if the project continues to be successful, he would like to expand it to schools, universities, hospitals and shopping centres.
Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press – Published Monday, July 8, 2019
Swoop airline is facing a backlog of flights after engine trouble on an aircraft touched off a four-day wave of flight disruptions that has left passengers stranded and angry.
Passengers who had booked flights with the ultra-low-cost airline were left scrambling after it cancelled 23 flights between July 5 and July 10 due to “unscheduled maintenance” on a defective engine.
Swoop policy requires the low-cost subsidiary of WestJet Airlines Inc. to reroute passengers on other airlines if it cannot rebook them on its own flights “within a reasonable amount of time.”
The policy applies to events “within Swoop’s control,” which the maintenance issues were, according to spokeswoman Karen McIsaac.
She said the vast majority of passengers were rescheduled on Swoop flights and that it would deal with requests for rebooking on another airline “on a case-by-base basis.”
The company partly blamed the Boeing 737 Max aircraft grounding for preventing it from chartering other aircraft to accommodate stranded travellers.
“We are exploring options to charter aircraft to assist with the relief, however there are few options to do so as availability is limited in light of the MAX grounding,” McIsaac said in an email.
Authorities across the globe banned the Boeing aircraft from their skies last spring after two crashes — in Indonesia in October and Ethiopia in March — killed all 346 passengers aboard, including 18 Canadians.
Frustrated travellers took to social media, complaining that the carrier rebooked them on Swoop flights up to five days later and that its customer care centre was closed over the weekend.
The Canadian Transportation Agency, asked whether it would launch an investigation, said it “is monitoring the situation.”
The transportation watchdog said it has received two complaints so far, but noted that “what constitutes ‘a reasonable amount of time’ might depend on the situation, and this may have to be determined by the agency.”
McIsaac said Swoop is providing affected passengers with accommodation, meals and transportation “as needed.”
“Those that wish to cancel can do so for a full refund,” she added.
The maintenance problem affected one of Swoop’s seven aircraft, requiring an engine replacement due to a leaky oil seal on a Boeing 737-800 jetliner, McIsaac said. “This requires a significant amount of work and disassembly in order to fully repair the issue.”
The aircraft has a capacity of 189, meaning more than 4,300 passengers would be affected if all 23 flights were booked up.
The disruption is affecting flights from Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, Orlando, Fla., and other cities.
Gabor Lukacs, head of the Air Passenger Rights advocacy group, said that under federal rules intended to beef up air traveller protections and set to take effect this year, Swoop passengers would receive no compensation due to a regulatory “loophole.”
The rules impose no obligation on airlines to pay customers for delays or cancellations if they were caused by mechanical problems discovered in a pre-flight check — walking around the aircraft before takeoff looking for defects — rather than during scheduled maintenance required after 100 hours cumulatively in the air.
“They’re saying the aircraft broke down, basically, that this is a maintenance issue,” Lukacs said, referring to Swoop.
“This is exactly why the new aircraft rules are a failure. In this case, under the new rules, passengers would not get compensation. They would not see a dime.”
The past week hasn’t gone smoothly for Swoop. On Thursday night, local police were called to Hamilton airport — “just to keep the peace,” said spokeswoman Const. Lorraine Edwards — after a flight bound for Las Vegas was cancelled and rescheduled for Friday evening.
Halifax has joined popular destinations such as Iceland, Finland and Lisbon, Portugal as Canada’s newest stopover destination, connecting several North American and European cities to Halifax.
The Stopover Halifax program opens the door for arriving and connecting passengers at Halifax Stanfield to enjoy unique experiences. Designed for travellers with as little as seven hours up to seven days, the program promotes experiences such as strolling along Halifax’s bustling boardwalk, hiking scenic trails at the ocean’s edge, dining on fresh lobster, exploring iconic Peggy’s Cove and more.
“We know that Halifax’s location on Canada’s East Coast provides a great opportunity for travellers to experience the best of Halifax on their journey between Europe and North America,” said Erica Pellerin, vice-president, marketing and visitor experience, Discover Halifax. “This program will help make our region more accessible, affordable and desirable to visitors who we know are interested in travelling here.”
Discover Halifax continues to develop and focus on experiences and experiential tourism – a growing global trend – through initiatives such as the newly launched Handpicked Halifax program and custom “stress-free” experience packages for layover travellers. Discover Halifax and Halifax International Airport Authority have been working closely over the last six months to create this new Stopover Halifax program, with the help of Canadian airline partner WestJet.
“As WestJet’s global network continues to grow, we’re looking forward to our guests experiencing everything Halifax has to offer through the Stopover Halifax Program,” said Brian Znotins, WestJet vice-president, Network Planning and Alliances. “As the carrier with the most transatlantic flights from YHZ and convenient options from destinations across Canada and US, WestJet is proud to support tourism opportunities across Nova Scotia and we’re thrilled to provide our guests greater access into and out of Halifax Stanfield.”
There are two ways WestJet guests can book a Stopover to Halifax: booking directly through their travel agent or booking through WestJet.
“We’re thrilled to work with Discover Halifax, WestJet and our program partners to enhance the experiences of arriving and connecting passengers at Halifax Stanfield with a stopover,” said Tiffany Chase, director, Public Affairs & Marketing, Halifax International Airport Authority. “Stopover programs are offered by many destinations and airlines around the world – with more international air access than ever before, Halifax Stanfield is serving more domestic and international passengers and it makes perfect sense to give them additional reasons to stay a little longer in our beautiful part of Canada.”
Halifax Stanfield International Airport served a record 4.3 million passengers last year, a 20% increase from 2013.
“As we further develop this program, we’re confident it will continue to drive Halifax’s tourism momentum, bringing more passengers to Halifax Stanfield and visitors to experience all our region has to offer,” said Pellerin. “We want more people to fall in love with Halifax and Nova Scotia – that’s what this really is all about.”
Under a new “passenger bill of rights,” airlines will be able to leave passengers stuck on the tarmac for longer than the current standard.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Toronto-Saint John, NB, Flights to be operated by Air Canada Rouge starting this winter
Halifax-Calgary year-round service on Air Canada starting March 1, 2020
Toronto-Charlottetown Air Canada Rouge service now year-round
Halifax-Gander additional daily flight
Moncton, Fredericton-Toronto flights now operated year-round by Air Canada Rouge
MONTREAL, July 3, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today announced a host of enhancements to Atlantic Canada services starting this winter. Overall capacity will increase by 8% as some routes will transfer to Air Canada Rouge, and other Air Canada Rouge and mainline services will be extended to year-round.
“Leisure travellers and business customers alike will benefit from these service enhancements which clearly demonstrate our commitment to these markets as we increase capacity on numerous routes in Atlantic Canada, which we have been serving year-round since 1942, longer than any other carrier,” said Mark Galardo, Vice President of Network Planning at Air Canada. “With the introduction of Air Canada Rouge service to Saint John, NB, the extension of Rouge on Charlottetown-Toronto and the expansion of Halifax-Calgary flights to year-round service, Atlantic Canada will enjoy an improved product and convenient connections throughout Air Canada’s extensive North American and global network.”
“Air Canada has been a valued partner for many years,” said Saint John Airport President and CEO Derrick Stanford. “Their decision to enhance YSJ’s current offering with bigger aircraft will mean more capacity, business-class service and faster flight times to connection banks like Toronto, something our business passengers have come to depend on. We look forward to working together to serve the Saint John community for many years to come.”
“We are very pleased with Air Canada’s announcement today of Air Canada Rouge service in Charlottetown for Winter 2019/2020. These larger Air Canada Rouge jets will offer added capacity on the Charlottetown-Toronto route and is a direct response to demand in the PEI market in the winter time”, said Doug Newson, CEO of the Charlottetown Airport Authority. “This will result in more travel options for Islanders and those wishing to visit or do business here. The increased capacity to and from Air Canada’s Toronto hub also means Islanders have more options to connect to Air Canada’s extensive global network.”
Beginning October 27, 2019, twice daily Saint John-Toronto flights will be operated year-round by Air Canada Rouge using an Airbus A319, replacing the Bombardier Q400s. This represents a 16% increase in available seats, while also offering an upgraded customer experience on the A319 which features Premium Rouge and Economy cabins, as well as streaming in-flight entertainment.
Air Canada operates out of four airports in New Brunswick with roughly 1,600 daily seats available for travellers. Also continuing year-round will be Air Canada Rouge service from Toronto to Moncton (three times a day) and Fredericton(twice a day), also operated by an Airbus A319, representing a 16% capacity increase through the winter season.
Charlottetown-Toronto flights operated by Air Canada Rouge in the summer will become year-round service as of December 16, 2019, with two daily flights operated with an Airbus A319. Air Canada offers nonstop flights from Charlottetown to Halifax, Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.
Air Canada is also adding a second daily flight between Gander, NL and Halifax during the winter season. Flights between Halifax and Gander will be operated year-round on the Bombardier Q400.
From Halifax, Air Canada mainline will operate year-round non-stop service to Calgary on an Airbus A319 beginning March 1, 2020.
Air Canada also recently inaugurated non-stop service between Montreal and Sydney, Nova Scotia, for the summer season.
All flights provide for Aeroplan accumulation and redemption, Star Alliance reciprocal benefits and, for eligible customers, priority check-in, Maple Leaf Lounge access, priority boarding and other benefits.
Air Canada in the Community
The Air Canada Foundation is active in several charitable organizations throughout Atlantic Canada, helping a variety of organizations.
In New Brunswick, the Foundation assists The Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Saint-John, the Canadian Cancer Society (Saint John), the Atlantic Wellness Community Centre and Moncton Headstart.
Nova Scotia organizations includes the IWK Foundation in Halifax, the Canadian Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Foundation in Orleans and Dreams Take Flight.
In Prince Edward Island, the Foundation is involved with the heart and stroke Foundation, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of P.E.I and The kidney Foundation of Canada.
Similarly, in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Foundation also assists the Big Brothers and Big Sister as well as The Janeway Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Eating Disorder Foundation and the Easter Seals.
Woman’s flight from Calgary to Toronto collided with bird shortly after takeoff, leading to missed connection
CBC News · Posted: Jun 25, 2019
A Halifax grandmother who missed a connecting flight home because her first plane was delayed by a bird strike says she was stranded in Toronto overnight without a credit card and without any compensation for a hotel or transportation from the airline.
Norma Greene, who is diabetic and doesn’t carry a credit card, says her flight home after visiting her son in Calgary left her feeling stranded and helpless.
Greene says she was left to fend for herself overnight with no compensation from WestJet after the plane flying from Calgary to Toronto collided with a bird shortly after takeoff.
The incident led to a 3½-hour delay in Calgary. She said she was assured by a WestJet agent that someone in Toronto would meet her to give her a new itinerary and arrangements.
But that didn’t happen, and it was too late to board the Halifax flight.
Greene says she wasn’t too worried at first because a handful of passengers getting off an Edmonton plane had also missed the Halifax connection, and she noticed WestJet staff giving them vouchers for taxis and hotels for the evening.
“I just kind of took a deep breath and I was shaking and I was sweating. And when I got to the desk, I told the guy I was diabetic and if they could do something to get me situated quickly. And he said, ‘I’m very sorry, there is nothing we can do for you,'” she said.
Greene was told the Edmonton passengers were delayed because of airplane maintenance, whereas her delay was due to an act of nature, so therefore she was not entitled to vouchers.
Gabor Lukacs, founder of the advocacy group Air Passenger Rights, says the airline is operating within the rules — both as they now exist and under a new set of regulations about to take effect.
Regulations take effect July 15
The Canadian Transportation Agency’s new air passenger protection regulations are set to start coming into force this summer. The regulations will be launched in two phases, with some taking effect on July 15, and others not until Dec. 15
Broadly, flight disruptions — tarmac delays, flight cancellations and denials of boarding — that are within an airline’s control require compensation be paid, standards of treatment be upheld and the passenger’s itinerary be completed.
Flight disruptions within an airline’s control but needed for safety reasons will not require compensation but airlines will have to maintain a standard of treatment and complete a passenger’s itinerary.
Situations outside an airline’s control that cause a flight disruption will only require the airline to ensure the passenger’s itinerary is completed.
“The bird strike is something entirely, entirely out of their control and, unfortunately, unlike in Europe, where you would be entitled to accommodations and meals, in Canada, something like a bird strike or a snowstorm, for example, you are, unfortunately, not entitled to the kind of compensation we are discussing,” Lukacs said.
Canada lagging behind Europe
He said even with the new regulations coming in to effect, Canada’s rules are lax compared with Europe.
“Europe is the gold standard in passenger rights,” he said.
“If this incident had happened in Europe, under the European regulations, she would be entitled not only to financial compensation but to accommodation, ground transportation and meals, because in Europe, even if there is a volcanic eruption, the airline has to at least provide accommodations and meals.”
Greene’s son booked her a Toronto hotel room on his credit card and had a meal delivered to her via Skip the Dishes.
WestJet says the airline’s guest support team is still looking into Greene’s experience.