Thunder Bay Airport Allies with #NotInMyCity to Raise Awareness about Human Trafficking in Aviation

The two organizations and community partners are working together to help put a stop to human trafficking in the aviation sector

#NotInMyCity is disrupting human trafficking by raising awareness and creating a platform for collective action. (CNW Group/Not In My City)

THUNDER BAY, ON, Aug. 24, 2022 /CNW/ – The Thunder Bay International Airport is pleased to share that it has partnered with #NotInMyCity to educate and raise stakeholder and community awareness regarding human trafficking in aviation within Canada.

#NotInMyCity is a facilitative organization that is raising awareness and taking collective action to prevent, disrupt and end sexual exploitation and trafficking, focusing on children and youth. In the transport sector, #NotInMyCity is a leading partner who is helping address human trafficking across sectors and geographic areas.

The Thunder Bay Airport will implement an e-learning and awareness program. The purpose of the program is to:

  • Provide all airport employees and stakeholders with knowledge and awareness about sexual exploitation and human trafficking in Canada with #NotInMyCity’s aviation focused e-learning platform. Members of the public are invited to learn more about the issue by taking a free e-learning course found at notinmycity.ca.
  • Allow airport employees to understand the signs of human trafficking, and knowing what to do if they suspect trafficking.
  • Implement informational signage and materials throughout the airport for all stakeholders and travelling public.
  • Report any and all signs of human trafficking, without causing harm.

“We are thrilled that the Thunder Bay Airport reached out to us for our support,” says Kris Carlson, Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking. The Coalition started in 2018 and is a cross-sectoral partnership that works collaboratively to address the issue of human trafficking, specifically in the Thunder Bay area. “We are happy to support and offer local resources to the Thunder Bay Airport alongside #NotInMyCity.”

Human trafficking and sexual exploitation are the fastest growing crimes in Canada and are the second largest source of illegal income worldwide. In Canada, 21 per cent of trafficking victims are under the age of 18. While making up only 4 per cent of the country’s population, 50 percent of Canada’s trafficking victims are Indigenous people.

“Supporting the victims of human trafficking should be our collective focus,” says Detective Inspector Jeremy Pearson. “The ability to identify potential human trafficking victims and then share this information is a critical step to protect vulnerable persons. The Thunder Bay Police Service supports this public safety initiative.”

According to the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking1, transportation corridors are frequently used by traffickers, and once a victim has been recruited, traffickers will often move them from city to city to maximize profits, access new markets and avoid competition. It also helps keep control of the victim who may not know where they are or how to get help, making it easier for traffickers to evade detection by police. Victims of labour trafficking may also enter Canada by way of air travel, under the false promise of a job or educational opportunity.

1 https://www.canadiancentretoendhumantrafficking.ca/the-role-of-the-transportation-sector-in-the-fight-against-human-trafficking-in-canada/

“Joining the growing mobilization against human trafficking is simply the right thing to do,” according to Ed Schmidtke, President & CEO of the Thunder Bay Airport Authority. “We appreciate the immediate response received from frontline security and airline staff to educate themselves on the potential warning signs of human trafficking. Together we know we can make a difference.”

#NotInMyCity offers an interactive e-learning course for anyone interested in learning more about the issue of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Canada. It was developed in collaboration with national and international thought leaders. Upon completion of the free 30-minute e-course, participants are awarded with a certificate. Thousands of individuals have completed the course so far.

In Thunder Bay, anyone can call the local human trafficking unit at 807-684-1239 if they believe they witnessing or are experiencing human trafficking or sexual exploitation. If anyone is in immediate danger, it is recommended to call 9-1-1. 

To learn more visit notinmycity.ca or www.humantraffickingthunderbay.ca.

About #NotInMyCity 

#NotInMyCity is a facilitative organization launched by Paul Brandt that is raising awareness and taking collective action to prevent, disrupt and end sexual exploitation and trafficking, focusing on children and youth. The #NotInMyCity movement is growing. We are working in alliance with key stakeholders, creating awareness, educating others and mobilizing a strategic, integrated plan to bring about transformational and sustainable change at all levels. 

About Thunder Bay Airport

Thunder Bay International Airports Authority Inc. is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the maintenance and operation of the YQT Thunder Bay Airport.

Air Transat and WestJet launch Transatlantic codeshare

MONTREAL and CALGARY, AB, April 28, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – Today, Air Transat and WestJet have launched a new transatlantic codeshare. WestJet’s “WS” code is now activated for sale on select Air Transat operated flights to/from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, and Croatia. Connections via Montreal and Toronto are now available for flight dates beginning May 17, 2022.

On May 4, 2022, Air Transat’s “TS” code will be activated on select WestJet flights, and from that date Air Transat will also offer itineraries connecting select WestJet flights with appealing Air Transat European destinations. 

“We are very excited to launch this codeshare agreement with WestJet,” said Michèle Barre, Vice President, Network, Revenue Management and Pricing of Air Transat.  “The complementarity of our respective networks allows us to offer more alternatives to our customers, providing them with a quality and affordable product. This partnership is part of Air Transat’s development strategy, enhancing our long-standing presence in the transatlantic market.”

“This new codeshare with Air Transat complements our growing global network, allowing WestJet to offer guests exciting new destinations in Europe,” said John Weatherill, Chief Commercial Officer, WestJet.  “As our guests return to travel, these new options will connect North America and Europe in new ways and benefit guests on both sides of the Atlantic.” 

With this new codeshare, guests now have more options for their transatlantic travel, and will enjoy conveniences such as a single purchase for connecting flights, the ability to check in for all flights at their first departure, and baggage checked through to their final destination.

Once activated, both Air Transat and WestJet codeshare ticket sales will be available via the carriers’ websites and call centers, as well as via major GDS systems and travel agencies.

Subject to connectivity between their scheduled flights, Air Transat and WestJet will both offer the following transatlantic routings:

WestJet
Operated Flights
Air Transat “TS”
Codeshare
Applied
Connection
Via
Air Transat Operated Flights
WestJet “WS” Codeshare Applied
Deer Lake
St. John’s
Halifax
Sydney
Fredericton
Moncton
Charlottetown
Montreal
Quebec City 
London, ON
Ottawa
Thunder Bay
Toronto
Winnipeg
Regina
Saskatoon
Boston
N.Y. LaGuardia
Montreal

Toronto
France:  Bordeaux, Marseille, Nantes, Nice 

Italy:  Lamezia, Rome

Spain: Malaga  

Portugal:  Faro

Switzerland: Basel-Mulhouse

Croatia: Zagreb

About Air Transat

Founded in Montreal 35 years ago, Air Transat is a leading leisure travel brand. Voted World’s Best Leisure Airline by passengers at the Skytrax World Airline Awards, it flies to international and Canadian destinations, striving to serve its customers with enthusiasm and friendliness at every stage of their trip or stay, and emphasizing safety throughout. It is renewing its fleet with the greenest aircraft in their category as part of a commitment to a healthier environment, knowing that this is essential to its operations and the magnificent destinations it offers. Air Transat is a business unit of Transat A.T. Inc., a world-renowned holiday travel provider that has achieved Travelife certification in 2018 in recognition of its sustainability commitments.

About the WestJet Group of Companies 

In 26 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

For more information about everything WestJet, please visit www.westjet.com

Government of Canada makes important investments at Thunder Bay International Airport

Transport Canada

THUNDER BAY, ON, March 14, 2022 /CNW/ – As Canada works towards recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, investments in our airports continue to be crucial to maintain safety, security, and connectivity for travellers, workers, and communities. Government of Canada investments also help ensure Canada’s airports are well-positioned to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

Today, the Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, Marcus Powlowski, and the Minister of Indigenous Services, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, and the Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, on behalf of the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced that the Government of Canada is making important investments at the Thunder Bay International Airport.

Through Transport Canada’s Airport Relief Fund, the Government of Canada provided the airport with more than $1.7 million to help it maintain continued airport operations and essential air services for residents and workers in Thunder Bay and surrounding communities.

The Thunder Bay International Airport is also receiving $395,000 from Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program for the purchase of a snowplow truck and a runway ice sweeper. This equipment will help ensure safe airport operations for aircraft, passengers, crews and airport workers, by keeping airside surfaces such as runways and taxiways, clear of ice and snow.

This funding is in addition to the over $12.4 million in Airports Capital Assistance Program funding provided to the airport in May 2021 for the rehabilitation of airside surfaces, lighting and electrical systems; the construction of runway end safety areas; the installation of airside LED guidance signage; and the purchase of two aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles.

In addition to the support from Transport Canada, the Thunder Bay International Airports Authority is also receiving more than $1.5 million in financial assistance from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario (FedNor).  The funding, made available through the Aerospace Regional Recovery and the Regional Air Transportation Initiatives, will be used to upgrade lighting and HVAC equipment, as well as replace two aging escalators in the terminal building. The projects are designed to enhance safety and maintain air service.

Quotes

“The Thunder Bay International Airport is a key transportation hub not just for Thunder Bay, but for much of northern Ontario. It connects us with family and friends, helps us discover new destinations, and is a pivotal trade corridor for many Thunder Bay businesses. This funding will enhance airport safety for travellers, air crews and airport workers, while supporting jobs and our regional economy.”  

Marcus Powlowski
Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River

“The pandemic highlighted the important role our local and regional airports play in our country’s economy, and in sustaining the social and economic well-being of our communities. In addition to supporting personal travel, local and regional airports are key connectors for business, exports, health care, social services, and emerging resource development sectors. These investments will improve access to safe, reliable and efficient air transportation options, and will help us deliver our commitment to build safer, healthier and stronger communities as Canada recovers from the pandemic.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North

“As we move forward with the safe and gradual return of activity in the aviation sector, in a way that continues to support the health, safety, and security of all Canadians, it will be imperative that we continue to ensure a vibrant and competitive Canadian air sector. These critical investments will allow the Thunder Bay International Airport to invest in the infrastructure and tools needed to help re-invigorate the aviation industry and allow Canadians to feel safe and secure when they travel.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

Quick Facts

  • First introduced in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the Airport Relief Fund is part of a federal stimulus recovery plan designed to build a stronger, more inclusive, and more resilient economy post-COVID-19.
  • The Airport Relief Fund, launched in May 2021, provided $64.8 million in funding in 2021-2022 for targeted airports whose 2019 revenues were less than $250 million.
  • As announced in the Fall Economic Statement 2020, the Airports Capital Assistance Program received a one-time funding top-up of $186 million over two years.
  • The Fall Economic Statement 2020 also announced the temporary expansion of eligibility for the Airports Capital Assistance Program to allow National Airports System airports with less than one million annual passengers in 2019 to apply for funding under the Program in 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.
  • The eligible National Airports System airports are: Gander; Charlottetown; Saint John; Fredericton; Moncton; Thunder Bay; London; and Prince George.
  • Since the Airports Capital Assistance Program started in 1995, the Government of Canada has invested over $1.2 billion for 1,215 projects at 199 local, regional and National Airports System airports across the country. Funded projects include runway and taxiway repairs/rehabilitation, lighting enhancements, purchasing snow clearing equipment and firefighting vehicles and installing wildlife control fencing.
  • The Regional Airport Transportation Initiative (RATI), administered by the regional development agencies, has a national budget of $206 million. The RATI is being delivered by FedNor in Northern Ontario.
  • The Initiative supports regional air ecosystems—which include regional air carriers and airports, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises and non-profit organizations—in developing and implementing enhanced services for improved regional connectivity.
  • Delivered by Canada’s regional development agencies with a national budget of $250 million over three years, the Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative (ARRI) complements other measures announced in Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Associated Links

Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca.

RCAF investigates incident at Thunder Bay Airport

From TBnewsWatch.com 🔗 link to source story

Three air force personnel walked away without injury.

TBNewsWatch.com Staff | 1 February 2022

IMG_20220131_133814
(Doug Diaczuk/TBNewswatch)

THUNDER BAY — The Royal Canadian Air Force says it has launched an investigation into Monday’s incident at Thunder Bay Airport that saw a passenger aircraft slide off the runway.

All three RCAF personnel on board walked away without injury but were assessed at the scene by paramedics.

The air force says the plane was a King Air 350 turboprop operated by the RCAF.

A witness described seeing the plane approaching the airport from the east, and said it didn’t sound normal.

The person said the plane touched down hard on the runway, bounced, then spun around before coming to rest in the snow.

The aircraft sustained extensive damage, including to its tail and wings.

A spokesperson at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa said Tuesday that no further details will be provided until the investigation is concluded.

Thunder Bay Airport CEO Ed Schmidtke said the airport will have no further comment as the incident is the subject of a DND investigation. 

TOYS FOR THE NORTH 2021! We Will Deliver Toys This Year!

We invite you to join us in welcoming the Canadian Air Force military aircraft C-17 Globemaster to Thunder Bay this Thursday December 2nd at 1:00pm as we kick off the 2021 RCMP Toys for the North!

Location is Shell Aero Centre, 316 Hector Dougall Way. (Due to COVID restrictions, social distancing and face masks are a must.)

December 1, 2021- Thunder Bay ON – Once again this December, the RCMP, Gardewine Group – Transportation and Logistics and North Star Air will deliver toys to remote First Nations communities this Christmas! Donated new toys, basic needs items and more will be arriving in Thunder Bay via CAF military aircraft C-17 Globemaster this Thursday December 2nd at 1:30 pm ET. “We’re all praying for good weather on the leg to Thunder Bay” says Karen Matson, Marketing & Community Relations at North Star Air, “the general public will be quite impressed to see this aircraft in Thunder Bay, so keep your eyes on the skies!”

North Star Air’s team has been working with the “O” Division Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), participating in the ‘Toys for the North’ charitable drive. The initiative has evolved over the years to include a national network of RCMP, law enforcement, corporate and external partners who collectively contribute to the success of delivering new toys to children in remote Northern communities. North Star Air has been a partner of the Toys for the North campaign for 7 of the 11 past years.

The arrival of the Globemaster in Thunder Bay doesn’t mean the journey to the North is over. The toys, along with other donated goods will be air delivered in the coming weeks to remote northern Ontario First Nations communities via North Star Air’s flight network. “It’s an exciting time, knowing all this hard work will very soon bring smiles to many faces in the North.” continues Matson.

Once the cargo is debarked from the Globemaster in Thunder Bay on Thursday, Gardewine Group – Transportation and Logistics will then move the cargo to their local warehouse where volunteers will sort the goods by age and gender per community the following week. “We’re talking about thousands of toys that need to be sorted so that the next phase can continue as planned.” says Cpl. Stacy Morton of the RCMP. “We’ve targeted four recipient communities this year.”

The goods will then be transported by Gardewine Group – Transportation and Logistics to the North Star Air hangar in Pickle Lake where they will be loaded onto the Basler DC3 aircraft for their remote First Nation destinations. Representatives from North Star Air, the media and our very special guest Santa Claus will bring joy to so many young people of the North thanks to the efforts of the RCMP and the network of donators. You can follow our journey north with Toys for the North and Santa on our North Star Air Facebook page.

More information on Toys for the North

Westjet says another few months until flights at Thunder Bay airport return to pre-pandemic levels

From CBC News – link to source story

Jeff Walters · CBC News · Posted: Sep 10, 2021

WestJet Encore services Thunder Bay with its Dash-8 Q400 turboprop aircraft on flights to Toronto and Winnipeg. (Francois Biber/CBC)

Increasing demand for flights to and from Thunder Bay, Ont., have allowed airlines servicing in the city to add more flights to the city, but it will be months before air travel is back to its pre-pandemic levels.

Westjet held an online round-table, including some of its executives, officials from the Thunder Bay Airport and Tourism Thunder Bay. The event was to discuss how the airline can attract more business and increase tourism.

“We’re aiming to return as much capacity over the next six months,” as was found pre-pandemic, said Chris Hedlin, the vice-president of network planning at Westjet.

Hedlin said demand at the airline, on a national level is projected to grow from July to January as much as the airline grew in the past 11 years.

Demand at the Thunder Bay Airport for Westjet flights dropped by about 80 percent through the pandemic, which is a little less than the overall demand drop of 90 percent.

Data in the Westjet presentation noted that pre-pandemic, over 800,000 passengers flew annually through Thunder Bay’s Airport. That figure dwindled to about 200,000 during the height of the pandemic.

Currently, the airline is running its capacity to Thunder Bay at 60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, Hedlin said, which is about average for the entire flight system.

“That’s going to continue to impact the pace at which we bring back services, as they still have to make sense. They still have to be driven by demand,” said Hedlin. 

Westjet is the only carrier to serve both Toronto and Winnipeg from Thunder Bay.

The airline said, in a response to a question from a former airport board member, that it would continue to look at adding a direct flight between Thunder Bay and Calgary, to take advantage of connections through its Calgary hub.

Earlier this week, Porter Airlines restarted its flights between Thunder Bay and Toronto’s Billy Bishop City Centre Airport.

Flair Airlines also announced it would now book flights to Thunder Bay from Toronto for the summer of 2022, with up to five flights per week.

Flair Airlines Extends Schedule Through Summer 2022

Canada’s favorite ULCC is confident in travel demand growth over the coming year and expands schedule in core Canadian and US markets

Edmonton, Alberta, September 9, 2021 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s only true ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), continues its surge to bring low fares to Canadians and has extended its flight schedule through Summer 2022 in core Canadian and US markets.

“As we grow our fleet and expand our service, we see the demand for Flair’s low fare travel continuing to explode across Canada. We are absolutely focused on rescuing Canadians from the bloated prices they have long suffered in flying,” says Stephen Jones, President and CEO, Flair Airlines. “Flair is committed to helping reunite families and make travel accessible for everyone, and our schedule extension will help passengers prepare for 2022 by knowing they can explore and connect without breaking the bank.”

The schedule expansion extends the booking period into Summer 2022. Many year-round and seasonal routes will see an increase in service including flights departing from Edmonton (YEG), Kelowna (YLW), Halifax (YHZ), Kitchener (YKF), Abbotsford (YXX), Winnipeg (YWG), Toronto (YYZ), Saint John (YSJ), Vancouver (YVR), Calgary (YYC), Victoria (YYJ), Charlottetown (YYG), Thunder Bay (YQT), and Montreal (YUL).

Flair’s confidence in Canadian travel continuing to grow in 2022 is reflected in the ultra-low fares where cost efficiency and demand allow for pricing to start at just $29 CAD one-way on some routes. All routes and schedule details can be viewed at https://www.flyflair.com. More low fares and exciting summer route announcements will be coming soon! Be among the first to know by signing up for Flair’s newsletter https://www.flyflair.com/newsletter.

Flair is rapidly growing to serve Canadians with low fare flights, the extended schedule allows for more efficient planning for customers and airline partners. Deliveries of new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft throughout 2021 and 2022 continue to grow the fleet as Flair achieves its goal of 50 aircraft in five years. Flair continues to bring more jobs to the market and is hiring more staff and flight crew as it meets the growth demands of the airline.

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is Canada’s only independent Ultra Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC) and is on a mission to liberate the lives of Canadians by providing affordable air travel that connects them to the people and experiences they love. With an expanding fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, Flair is growing to serve 26 cities across Canada and North America. For more information, please visit http://www.flyflair.com

Porter Airlines returns to the air

TORONTO, Sept. 8, 2021 /CNW/ – Porter Airlines officially returns to the skies today, almost 18 months after suspending flights due to COVID-19 public health and travel restrictions.

Porter Airlines officially returns to the skies today, almost 18 months after suspending flights due to COVID-19 public health and travel restrictions. (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)
Porter Airlines officially returns to the skies today, almost 18 months after suspending flights due to COVID-19 public health and travel restrictions. (CNW Group/Porter Airlines)

Flights to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Thunder Bay are the first to restart. Other Canadian destinations starting within the next 10 days are Halifax, Quebec City, St. John’s, NL, and Moncton. U.S. destinations in Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington return on Sept. 17. Flights to other year-round destinations are set to resume as of Oct. 6, with all routes currently available for booking. The initial flight schedule can be found at www.flyporter.com.

“Our passengers and team members have been waiting for this day to arrive,” said Michael Deluce, president and CEO, Porter Airlines. “We currently have over 900 team members who have put in countless hours to get everything ready for our return to service, with more being recalled or hired every week. Everyone at Porter is looking forward to welcoming passengers back and delivering our distinct style of service again.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory joins the celebrations at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

Porter has strengthened its existing standards with a focus on high levels of sanitization in order to protect the health of its passengers and team members. More information about the Healthy Flights program can be found on Porter’s website.

In addition to Healthy Flights, Porter has also introduced a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy for its team members. To support a safe and healthy workplace and travel experience, team members must present a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of the start of their shift or be fully vaccinated. The Canadian federal government announced in August its intention to mandate vaccination for federally-regulated workers; once specific details are known, Porter’s policy may evolve.

Bookings made before Sept. 30, will be eligible to change or cancel with no fees. Passengers also have the option to book a flight with the Full Refund Option for $40 plus taxes. The Refund Option entitles customers to receive a refund, including base fare, taxes and fees, for their booking upon advance cancellation of their flight for any reason.

About Porter Airlines

Porter Airlines provides a warm and effortless approach to hospitality, restoring glamour and refinement to air travel. Porter is an Official 4 Star Airline® in the World Airline Star Rating®.

The airline currently offers flights to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, Halifax, St. John’s, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins, Windsor, New York (Newark), Chicago (Midway), Boston and Washington (Dulles), and has seasonal flights to Mt. Tremblant, Que., Muskoka, Ont., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Stephenville, N.L.

Visit www.flyporter.com or follow @porterairlines on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Details of growth plans to provide North America-wide service are available at flyporter.com. 

Crash of twin-engine plane at Thunder Bay airport leaves 1 dead

From CBC News – link to source story

TSB investigating after plane crashed following day of flying for Ontario ministry

CBC News · Posted: August 17, 2021

A number of flights into the Thunder Bay, Ont., airport from Toronto and Sioux Lookout were either cancelled or diverted as a result of the airport closure due to the small-plane crash Monday evening. (Michael Fox/Twitter)

A twin-engine airplane crashed Monday evening at Thunder Bay’s airport in northwestern Ontario, leaving one person dead.

In a written statement, airport president and chief executive officer Ed Schmidtke confirmed a twin-engine airplane crashed just after 9 p.m. ET and there was one fatality.

The name of the individual hasn’t been released.

Schmidtke said the airport’s operations specialists, along with Thunder Bay police, firefighters and paramedics,  responded to the incident.

The scene is being held for a Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigation, he added.

Plane had finished day of work for ministry

TSB spokesperson Chris Krepski said Tuesday the crash occurred shortly after the plane — a Rockwell Commander 690 that was registered to MAG Aerospace — departed the Thunder Bay airport, heading for Dryden.

“Shortly after takeoff, the pilot … requested to return to the airport, and was returning to land on runway 07 at Thunder Bay,” Krepski said. “The aircraft lost control and struck the runway surface, and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada deployed a team of investigators this morning to gather information and assess the occurrence.”

MAG Aerospace is based in Dryden and provides a range of specialized aerial services, including fire management, airborne imagery and air charters, according to its website.

The plane’s wreckage was still sat on a runway at Thunder Bay International Airport on Tuesday morning. The scene was being held for Transportation Safety Board investigators to arrive. (Logan Turner/CBC)

In a statement Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry said MAG Aerospace is one of the ministry’s long-term contract aircraft providers.

At the time of the crash, the plane was travelling to Dryden for routine maintenance after a completing a day of flying for the ministry. Further details were not provided.

A staff member with MAG Aerospace indicated the company will also likely issue a statement, but the timing is unclear.

Number of flights affected

A number of flights into the airport from Toronto and Sioux Lookout were either cancelled or diverted as a result of the airport closure on Monday night.

A Facebook post from Wasaya Airways said it had cancelled one flight from Sioux Lookout on Monday night, resulting in 37 passengers stranded in the northern town. At least two Air Canada flights from Toronto that were scheduled to land in Thunder Bay were rerouted after takeoff.

Just before nightfall, social media were filled with images showing a line of flames streaked across the runway with heavy smoke rising into the sky.

Krepski said two TSB investigators coming to Thunder Bay from Winnipeg are expected to be on the scene by early Tuesday evening.

“When they get there, they’re going to examine the accident site, examine the aircraft wreckage, identify components from the aircraft for further analysis at the TSB engineering lab in Ottawa,” Krepski said. “They’re also going to interview witnesses and gather information from air traffic control regarding communications and radar information, information about the weather, information about the aircraft’s maintenance records, pilot’s training records.

“It’s really about gathering as much information as we can about from the site and from other sources to begin our investigation.”

Porter Airlines CEO excited to see flights return to northern Ontario

From CBC News – link to source story

Company grounded since March 2020 looking to make triumphant return to skies

CBC News · July 27, 2021

Despite shutting down during the pandemic, Porter Airlines made plans to purchase 80 new E195 Embraer planes. (Porter Airlines)

The head of Porter Airlines says the ongoing pandemic, despite delivering a financial hit to the company, has allowed them to focus on work behind the scenes.

Michael Deluce, Porter’s president and CEO, said although the airline has been grounded since March 2020, they’ve used the time to purchase new planes to expand operations. 

“Certainly the Canadian aviation space has had a very challenging 16 months, unlike no other time in history,” Deluce said. “Porter took steps early on to suspend operations and relative to other carriers, we have fared reasonably well.”

That includes the purchase of 80 E-195 Embraer planes, which will run primarily out of Toronto, Halifax, Montreal and Ottawa.

“They will allow Porter to extend its range from eastern Canada to all of North America, Canada, the U.S….Mexico and the Caribbean,” he said. 

Deluce says other existing aircraft were also refurbished, including the 29 dedicated to Northern Ontario routes, and he anticipates the full roster of flights will begin October 6.

“We have done a complete interior overhaul of those aircraft,” he said. “We have brand new seats and we have brand new carpet sidewalls, overhead bins. We’ve even restored the lavs.”

Michael Deluce is the CEO of Porter Airlines. (Linkedin- Michael Deluce)

Operations out of northern Ontario will begin a little sooner, September 8 on flights to Billy Bishop airport in Toronto.

“Since our inception, we’ve served all the major markets in the north, including Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay…and that will continue to be the case as we move forward,” he said. 

“I think by October 6, we’ll have all of our northern Ontario destinations up and running.”

Another incentive for returning passengers is the expansion of the airline’s payment options, as well as the introduction of ticket financing, Deluce said.

“When Porter returns to the air we’ll be seeing the Porter product at its absolute best,” he said. “And I think passengers are going to love returning to the skies on Porter.”