Canadian authority warns operators over 5G risk to radio altimeters

From Flight Global – link to source story

By David Kaminski-Morrow | 18 June 2021

Canadian authorities are warning operators of the potential risk of interference to radio altimeters arising from 5G communications networks, following auction of part of the frequency spectrum.

The country’s spectrum regulator, ISED, is auctioning the 3.45-3.65GHz band during June and will allow mobile wireless systems to operate in the adjacent 3.65-4GHz band in 2023.

But these frequencies are close to the 4.2-4.4GHz band used by radio altimeters, which provide a direct measurement of aircraft height above terrain during approach and other phases of flight at low altitude.

The US-based regulatory guidance organisation Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics produced an analysis of 5G interference in October last year, after the aviation industry expressed concerns to the US Federal Communications Commission during the 5G deployment process.

RTCA says its assessment included testing “many representative radio-altimeter models”, to determine their tolerance to 5G interference, and examination of “multiple real-world operational scenarios” for civil aircraft in which such interference might directly affect safety.

aircraft on approach-c-Unsplash Artturi Jalli
Source: Unsplash/Artturi Jalli

Transport Canada has highlighted analysis pointing to risks from 5G interference

It concludes that there is a “major risk” that 5G systems using the 3.7-3.98GHz band “will cause harmful interference” to radio altimeters on “all types” of civil aircraft – including those operating commercial services.

“The results of the study performed clearly indicate that this risk is widespread and has the potential for broad impacts to aviation operations,” it adds.

Commercial air transport aircraft, it says, may be impacted by 5G at altitudes up to 4,000ft and at distances of just over 0.4nm from a 5G base station. It does state that adequate mitigation might be achieved by base-station deployments that take departure and approach flightpaths into account.

But the analysis shows a “much broader” operational impact for regional, business and general aviation, with interference levels exceeding tolerance limits across the majority of the relevant 2,500ft altitude range, at all tested lateral distances from the base station.

RTCA also found the impact was not limited only to intentional 5G system emissions in the 3.7-3.98GHz band but also spurious emissions from such systems within the protected 4.2-4.4GHz band.

Transport Canada says its attention has been drawn to the RTCA’s conclusions regarding disturbance to certain radio altimeters, notably at heights of less than 1,000ft, and is issuing a civil aviation safety alert to raise awareness of the potential risk.

It is also recommending precautionary operation measures ahead of confirmation of possible effects.

“The most undesirable outcome of interference is the indication of undetected wrong height information given by the radio altimeter,” it says.

“Depending on operations, equipment model and aircraft type, this kind of error could have significantly adverse impacts on flight safety.”

Transport Canada says operators should remind passengers and crews that all electronic devices should be carried in the cabin, on their person or in luggage. If these are placed in checked baggage, they should be turned off and protected from accidental activation.

All 5G personal devices carried should be turned off or set to non-transmitting modes, it adds, and any essential or emergency communications should be limited to 3G or 4G devices.

Transport Canada is also urging crews to report any disturbance to radio altimeters to air traffic control as soon as possible. Air navigation service Nav Canada and ISED are to provide guidance on reporting such events.

Minister of Transport provides update on Safer Skies Initiative at ICAO Council meeting

OTTAWA, ON, June 18, 2021 /CNW/ – On January 8, 2020, Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 (PS752) was shot down near Tehran by Iranian surface-to-air missiles, killing 176 people, including 55 Canadian citizens, 30 permanent residents and many more with ties to Canada. The Government of Canada continues to work with its international partners to improve global aviation safety and prevent tragedies like Flight PS752 from ever happening again.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, virtually joined the 223rd session of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council to discuss the latest developments on the downing of Flight PS752 and Canada’s Safer Skies Initiative.

The Minister reiterated Canada’s long-standing position on the downing of Flight PS752 and condemned Iran, in the strongest terms, for its actions that led to the tragedy and its handling of the aftermath, including its failure to provide answers. He noted that Iran failed to recognize the danger of their military operations and neglected to take measures to prevent this tragedy. The Minister also expressed Canada’s continued commitment to obtaining justice, transparency and accountability for the victims of Flight PS752 and their families.

Minister Alghabra also referenced Canada’s intent to pursue efforts to strengthen international rules. The goal is to address limitations exposed by Iran’s investigation, and enhance the conduct of future investigations in situations where the State of Occurrence has participated in or caused the downing of a civilian aircraft.

This is what makes the Safer Skies Initiative so important. Through Safer Skies, Canada is working with ICAO, other international organizations, and experts from the civil aviation industry around the world to enhance safety and security for commercial airlines and to prevent future tragedies. Minister Alghabra announced that Canada will host another Safer Skies Forum in late 2021 or early 2022.

In addition, the Minister addressed the recent unusual, excessive and unacceptable actions taken by the Belarusian authorities against RyanAir Flight 4978, stating that the global community must remain vigilant in order to protect the safety and security of civil aviation. Canada, through its Safer Skies Initiative, took swift action alongside allies to protect civilian aircraft flying over Belarusian airspace.

Quote

“I wish to extend my gratitude to the ICAO Council for their support and to this organization for all the work that has been undertaken since March 2020 on Safer Skies. Thanks to continued efforts by many in the international community, we have advanced the work of the Safer Skies Initiative, and I look forward to our ongoing collaboration on the important work that lies ahead.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

Associated Links

Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

From Toronto City News – link to source story

BY THE CANADIAN PRESS | JUN 16, 2021

OTTAWA — The House of Commons transportation committee says the federal government should refund ticket holders for flights cancelled due to COVID-19 and further strengthen passenger rights, as well as extending wage and rent relief programs for the beleaguered aviation sector, in in a report tabled Thursday.

The Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities spoke to 60 witnesses and eight industry stakeholders while studying the impact of the pandemic on air travel.

The report says the government should require airlines to immediately refund passengers for flights they couldn’t take due to the pandemic, and further recognize that the right to a refund for cancelled flights exists beyond existing guidelines.

The committee also said the government should extend the federal wage subsidy for the air sector and rent relief for large and medium sized airports.

The report says the airline industry’s recovery from the pandemic will take longer than the current program expiry dates, even after mass vaccinations continue.

The committee called on Transport Canada to draft a report about lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic to serve as reference for any future emergencies.

“There is no doubt that the air transport sector is critical to Canada’s economic recovery and to the connectivity of the entire country,” stated Vance Badawey, chair of the committee and Liberal MP, in a statement.

He said the committee’s recommendations are “aimed at maintaining the sector’s competitiveness, protecting jobs and ensuring the health and safety of workers, passengers and the Canadian public.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 16, 2021.

Government of Canada investing in safety at airports in Alberta

OTTAWA, ON, May 19, 2021 /CNW/ – From traveling to medical appointments, getting goods to market, distributing PPE and medical supplies, or delivering vaccines, Canadians rely on safe and well-maintained local airports to support vibrant communities. These airports also provide essential air services, more so during this Covid-19 pandemic, including community resupply, air ambulance, search and rescue, and forest fire response.

The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister and Special Representative for the Prairies, on behalf of the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, today announced that the Government of Canada is making important safety investments at airports in Alberta.

Through Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP), the Government of Canada will provide over $20 million to the following Alberta airports for safety-related projects:

Fort Chipewyan

  • Rehabilitation of airside pavement – $11,021,416

Grande Prairie

  • Replacement of generator and airport signage – $612,871
  • Replacement of sand storage shed – $134,680

Lethbridge

  • Rehabilitation of airfield pavement – $7,379,719

Lloydminster

  • Purchase of a de-icing trailer – $105,000

Medicine Hat

  • Rehabilitation of airfield electrical system – $957,241

For 2021-2022, Transport Canada has allocated ACAP funding to 63 airports for 86 safety-related projects,   including runway and taxiway repairs/rehabilitation, lighting enhancements, purchasing snow clearing equipment and firefighting vehicles and installing wildlife fencing.

Since the Airports Capital Assistance Program started in 1995, the Government of Canada has invested over   $1.1 billion for 1,088 projects at 199 airports across the country.

Quotes

“We know how vital airports are to urban centres and remote communities. The investment our government is making will help ensure continued safe and reliable airport operations for residents, many of whom depend on their local airports not only for personal travel and business, but also for community resupply of essential goods and access to routine and emergency medical care in larger centres. This is part of how we build stronger more resilient and inclusive communities across Canada.”

The Honourable Jim Carr
Minister and Special Representative for the Prairies

“Our Government recognizes that airports are major contributors to the economic growth and social well-being of smaller communities, and local airport workers. In addition to supporting personal travel, local airports are key connectors for business, 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 promise to build safer, healthier and stronger communities across Canada. This is more important than ever as we work towards reopening our economies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

Quick Facts

  • As announced in the Fall Economic Statement (FES) 2020, the Airports Capital Assistance Program received a one-time funding top-up of $186 million over two years.
  • As well, the FES announced the temporary expansion of eligibility for the Airports Capital Assistance Program to allow National Airport System (NAS) 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 NAS airports are: Gander; Charlottetown; Saint John; Fredericton; Moncton; Thunder Bay; London; and Prince George.

Associated Links

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

Government of Canada investing in safety at airports in Manitoba

OTTAWA, ON, May 19, 2021 /CNW/ – From traveling to medical appointments, getting goods to market, distributing PPE and medical supplies, or delivering vaccines, Canadians rely on safe and well-maintained local airports to support vibrant communities. These airports also provide essential air services, more so during this COVID-19 pandemic, including community resupply, air ambulance, search and rescue, and forest fire response.

The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister and Special Representative for the Prairies and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre, on behalf of the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra today announced that the Government of Canada is making important safety investments at airports in Manitoba.

Through Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP), the Government of Canada will provide over $21.9 million to the following Manitoba airports for safety-related projects:

Flin Flon

  • Replacement of sand storage shed – $287,071
  • Replacement of airport beacon to better identify the airport’s location to pilots at night – $16,088

Gods Lake Narrows

  • Rehabilitation of airside surfaces and electrical systems – $12,872,635

Lac Brochet

  • Installation of wildlife control fencing – $1,156,265

Red Sucker Lake

  • Installation of wildlife control fencing – $1,000,203

Shamattawa

  • Rehabilitation of airside surfaces – $6,282,716

Thompson

  • Purchase of a sweeper to assist with the essential clearing of ice and snow from airside surfaces – $355,680

For 2021-2022, Transport Canada has allocated ACAP funding to 63 airports for 86 safety-related projects, including runway and taxiway repairs/rehabilitation, lighting enhancements, purchasing snow clearing equipment and firefighting vehicles and installing wildlife fencing.

Since the Airports Capital Assistance Program started in 1995, the Government of Canada has invested over $1.1 billion for 1,088 projects at 199 airports across the country.

Quotes

“We know how vital airports are to urban centres and remote communities. The investment our government is making will help ensure continued safe and reliable airport operations for residents, many of whom depend on their local airports not only for personal travel and business, but also for community resupply of essential goods and access to routine and emergency medical care in larger centres. This is part of how we build stronger more resilient and inclusive communities across Canada.”

The Honourable Jim Carr
Minister and Special Representative for the Prairies and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre

“Our Government recognizes that airports are major contributors to the economic growth and social well-being of smaller communities, and local airport workers. In addition to supporting personal travel, local airports are key connectors for business, 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 promise to build safer, healthier and stronger communities across Canada. This is more important than ever as we work towards reopening our economies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

Quick Facts

  • As announced in the Fall Economic Statement (FES) 2020, the Airports Capital Assistance Program received a one-time funding top-up of $186 million over two years.
  • As well, the FES announced the temporary expansion of eligibility for the Airports Capital Assistance Program to allow National Airport System (NAS) 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 NAS airports are: Gander; Charlottetown; Saint John; Fredericton; Moncton; Thunder Bay; London; and Prince George.

Associated Links

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

Fredericton Airport Lost $2.6 million in 2020

From Huddle.Today – link to source story

May 17, 2021by Aaron Sousa

Fredericton International Airport. Image: Facebook.

FREDERICTON —The Fredericton International Airport lost around $2.6 million last year, but its leadership is confident business will soon return to where it was pre-Covid-19.

Those were the key messages shared at the airport’s annual general meeting, held through Facebook Live on May 14.

Johanne Gallant, president and CEO of the airport, said the authority started its first quarter on a “very good note,” but that changed in March 2020 when Covid-19 forced companies like Porter Airlines and Air Canada to ground or drastically reduce flights.

Gallant said passenger traffic in Fredericton’s terminal dropped significantly, going from approximately 427,000 passengers in 2019 to around 103,000 passengers in 2020. She expects that number to be lower this year due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.

“But we’re being very optimistic right now with the vaccination rollout that these flights will be back in no time, hopefully this summer,” said Gallant.

Kenny Kyle, chair of the audit committee and board of directors member, said the surplus of $2.6 million the airport saw in 2019 turned into a deficit last year. The change, which sits around $5.2 million, is a result of a $7.5 million drop in revenue, ranging from passenger terminal fees to concessions.

Despite receiving government subsidies, Kyle said it “fell well short” of what was needed to recover operational losses. As a result, the airport looked at ways to handle its budget, which involved restricting spending to essentials, using capital project funds and reducing its workforce.

But one of the silver linings of the pandemic, according to Gallant, was the recent expansion of the airport’s terminal, which finished ahead of time and under budget. Gallant said there were few delays in the project because the authority hired local companies that didn’t need to worry about health restrictions.

The airport also acquired new funding that will go towards two new fire trucks in addition to airfield electrical work. Part of that money, estimated to be around two to three million dollars, comes from Transport Canada’s Airport Relief Fund. The news comes as the Saint John Airport announced last week it’ll receive around $1 million.

While the airport had fewer passengers, public relations and marketing manager Kate O’Rourke said it has been busier than ever.

The airport was the first in New Brunswick to receive Airport Council International’s health accreditation after implementing Public Health measures. The honour means it follows the best practices “for the pandemic era.”

O’Rourke also announced the airport is pleased that Newfoundland and Labrador’s PAL Airlines will begin offering flights this summer. She said this is a service passengers have requested prior to the pandemic and is a great opportunity to explore the Atlantic bubble once it opens.

“We’re working hard to build this business back so that we welcome back our colleagues and our travellers when the time is right,” said O’Rourke.

“We know how to grow and we’re going to do that again once this pandemic is over.”

Aaron Sousa is a summer intern for Huddle. 

Government of Canada investing in safety at the Thunder Bay International Airport

THUNDER BAY, ON, May 18, 2021 /CNW/ – From traveling to medical appointments, getting goods to market, distributing PPE and medical supplies, or delivering vaccines, Canadians rely on safe and well-maintained local airports to support vibrant communities. These airports also provide essential air services, more so during this Covid-19 pandemic, including community resupply, air ambulance, search and rescue, and forest fire response.

The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, along with the Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Rainy River, Marcus Powlowski, today announced that the Government of Canada is making important safety investments at the Thunder Bay International Airport.

Through Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP), the Government of Canada will provide almost $12.5 million to the Thunder Bay International Airport for four safety-related projects:

  • Purchase of two aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles – $2,255,729
  • Rehabilitation or airside surfaces and lighting and electrical systems – $8,518,040
  • Construction of runway end safety areas for Runways 07-25 and 12-30 – $1,662,055
  • Installation of airside LED guidance signs – $33,750

For 2021-2022, Transport Canada has allocated ACAP funding to 63 airports for 86 safety-related projects, including runway and taxiway repairs/rehabilitation, lighting enhancements, purchasing snow clearing equipment and firefighting vehicles and installing wildlife fencing.

Since the Airports Capital Assistance Program started in 1995, the Government of Canada has invested over $1.1 billion for 1,088 projects at 199 airports across the country.

Quotes

 “Our Government recognizes that airports are major contributors to the economic growth and social well-being of smaller communities, and local airport workers. In addition to supporting personal travel, local airports are key connectors for business, 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 promise to build safer, healthier and stronger communities across Canada. This is more important than ever as we work towards reopening our economies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

“The Thunder Bay International Airport is a critical hub for people in Thunder Bay and the region, connecting us to the rest of the country and the world. This investment will ensure our airport can keep on serving our region, helping Northwestern Ontarians get to work, medical services and more.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North

“Today’s funding is welcome news that will help ensure the long-term sustainability and growth of the Thunder Bay International Airport. Thunder Bay has always been a hub for regional transportation, and coming out this pandemic we need to ensure that our city is prepared to meet the transportation challenges of the future.”

Marcus Powlowski
Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Rainy River

Quick Facts

  • As announced in the Fall Economic Statement (FES) 2020, the Airports Capital Assistance Program received a one-time funding top-up of $186 million over two years.
  • As well, the FES announced the temporary expansion of eligibility for the Airports Capital Assistance Program to allow National Airport System (NAS) 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 NAS airports are: Gander; Charlottetown; Saint John; Fredericton; Moncton; Thunder Bay; London; and Prince George.

Associated Links

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

Pandemic has grounded many flights, but laser strikes haven’t gone away

From CBC News – link to source story

Despite steep penalties, there were 236 laser strikes on airplanes reported in Canada in 2020

Blair Rhodes · CBC News · Posted: May 16, 2021 6:00 AM AT | Last Updated: May 16

The number of flights in Canada has fallen during the pandemic, but laser strikes on planes haven’t gone away. (CBC)

Thousands of planes have been grounded by the pandemic, but even with far fewer flights, laser strikes remain a concern.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which regulates the aviation industry in the U.S., recorded 6,852 such strikes in 2020. That’s an increase of 716 over the year before.

In Canada, there were 236 strikes reported to Transport Canada in 2020. That’s down from 590 such attacks reported in 2015.

A laser strike can disorient, even incapacitate, a pilot as the devices flood the cockpit in bright light.

Penalties steep

Pointing a laser at an aircraft is illegal in Canada. The penalty for intentionally interfering with an aircraft by using a laser can be up to $100,000 in fines and five years in prison.

Since 2018, Canada has had what Transport Canada describes as a comprehensive strategy.

New regulations were introduced last June to ban the use of powerful hand-held lasers near 530 airports and heliports across Canada. They’re also banned in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

But the practice continues. 

Daily incident reports compiled by Transport Canada frequently include laser strikes.

Flight school hit 3 times

A report from earlier this month shows a small, single-engine plane operated by the Moncton Flight College was targeted by a green laser as it flew over the Richibucto area of New Brunswick at an altitude of 1,200 metres. Police were notified.

The college appears to be a popular target.

In a second incident, a plane from the school was conducting touch-and-go circuits over Moncton’s Romeo Leblanc airport last January when it was struck by a laser.

According to the report, the laser appeared to come from a black truck parked along a fence on the airport property. RCMP were notified.

A third incident involving the school happened as a plane was on final approach to Moncton airport.

According to the report, the pilot was struck in the eyes by a green laser, experiencing slight eye pain and disorientation. The symptoms passed after 30 seconds.

CBC News reached out to the Moncton Flight College for comment on laser strikes. The company declined and referred questions to Transport Canada.

While it has been targeted a relatively high number of times in the past few months, the Moncton Flight College is by no means unique.

Earlier this year, a Saskatchewan Air Ambulance was struck by a green laser as it approached Meadow Lake, Sask. The laser reportedly bathed the interior of the cabin in light but did not strike the pilot.

A report last month from Edmonton showed a single-engine Cessna aircraft being struck by a green laser while giving a tour over the city.

Not just small planes

The laser appeared to be coming from a high rise south of the North Saskatchewan River, which cuts through the middle of the city. Again, police were notified.

Most of these incidents involve small aircraft which generally fly at lower altitudes. However, pilots of some larger passenger aircraft report they’ve also been targeted as they approach an airport for landing.

Catching people who commit this crime can be difficult, but not impossible.

Transport Canada has shared a video from York region in Ontario. Three people on the ground targeted the aircraft. They probably didn’t realize they were aiming at a police helicopter which was in radio contact with officers on the ground.

Chorus Aviation Announces First Quarter 2021 Financial Results

Q1 2021 Key Metrics

  • Net loss of $38.1 million, or $0.24 per basic share; a period-over-period decrease of $20.8 million due to one-time restructuring costs related to the 2021 capacity purchase agreement (‘CPA’) amendments of $81.8 million as outlined below, offset by the changes in unrealized foreign exchange of $45.4 million and income taxes.
  • Adjusted net income1 of $15.7 million, or $0.10 per basic share; a decrease of $8.1 million quarter-over-quarter primarily due to the impact of COVID-19.
  • Adjusted EBITDA1 of $84.0 million; a decrease of $4.5 million over first quarter 2020.
  • Liquidity of $171.3 million.
  • Collected approximately 62% of lease revenue billed in the first quarter consistent with fourth quarter 2020 collections.

Year-to-date Highlights

  • Revised CPA with Air Canada, enhancing Jazz’s position as the exclusive Air Canada Express operator of 70-78 seat regional capacity until the end of 2025 and is currently the sole provider of Air Canada Express services.
  • Completed a public offering and concurrent private placement for gross proceeds of $145.1 million.
  • Remarketed three Dash 8-400s to two new leasing customers, Sky Alps of Italy (two aircraft) and one Dash 8-400 to National Jet Express, a subsidiary of Australian aviation operator, Cobham Aviation Services.
  • Secured a three-year contract with Purolator for air cargo charter services, executing on Chorus’ growing capabilities in this market segment.
  • Awarded a 3-year contract to upgrade and modify Transport Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program fleet of Dash 8-100 and Dash 7 aircraft with new surveillance equipment.
  • Awarded a new five-year contract to provide fixed-wing air ambulance service for Ambulance New Brunswick further extending its 25-year relationship.

HALIFAX, NS, May 12, 2021 /CNW/ – Chorus Aviation Inc. (‘Chorus’) (TSX: CHR) today announced first quarter 2021 financial results and an update on the impact of COVID-19.

“I am proud and encouraged by our accomplishments so far this year,” commented Joe Randell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chorus. “While our industry continues to be challenged by the negative effects of COVID-19, we have made considerable progress towards ensuring we emerge from the pandemic in the strongest position possible.”

From Air Canada

“In March we revised our CPA with Air Canada to our mutual benefit. The two primary highlights are the transfer of 25 Embraer 175 aircraft to Jazz, and the introduction of a cap on the controllable cost guardrail receivable. With the transfer of the aircraft, Jazz is currently the sole operator of Air Canada Express flights and has the exclusive right to operate 70 – 78 seat regional capacity until 2025. As our work with Air Canada on recovery plans continues, these revisions further strengthen our relationship and provides significant network efficiencies and planning flexibility – elements that are vital as service resumptions are implemented. The new cap on the controllable cost guardrail reduces our financial exposure and minimizes draws on our working capital. Finally, the recent support of the Canadian government to Air Canada was a welcomed announcement as it helped preserve regional services across our nation.”

“While there remains uncertainty, our industry is starting to experience some encouraging signs of renewed travel demand, most particularly in regional and short-haul markets. This was evidenced by our recent long-term lease agreements with two new leasing customers, Sky Alps of Italy, and Cobham Aviation Services of Australia. The aircraft, three Dash 8-400s, were repossessed by Chorus in 2020 and underwent reconfiguration and return-to-service work at Voyageur and Jazz Technical Services. This is what differentiates Chorus from the competition – not only are we an airline operator, we offer a broad range of solutions to remarket aircraft in the midst of one of the most challenging periods in aviation history.”

“Although we paused our growth and diversification strategy in 2020 to focus on liquidity, it remains a corporate priority. Our capital raise in April was over-subscribed and generated gross proceeds of $145.1 million, thus enabling us to improve our balance sheet and prudently seek growth opportunities.”

“The recent contracts awarded to Voyageur by Purolator, Transport Canada and Ambulance New Brunswick are a testament to the incredible skill and ingenuity of the team and clearly position us as a premiere special mission service providerWe are pleased to grow our relationships with these important customers and are very excited to be expanding our capabilities to include cargo contract flying on behalf of Purolator. We view the cargo market as a growth opportunity that is benefiting from the successes of e-commerce and look forward to participating in this evolving sector.”

“We are proud of the way we are managing through this pandemic and have centered our attention on the future. I’m very grateful to our employees for delivering terrific accomplishments despite all the challenges associated with the global pandemic. We are well positioned to take advantage of future opportunities,” concluded Mr. Randell.

Link to full news release

Continue reading

Minister of Transport introduces new funding programs to support Canada’s airports

Transport Canada

OTTAWA, ON, May 11, 2021 /CNW/ – The global COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the air sector in Canada. Airports have been significantly affected, experiencing major decreases in traffic over the past 15 months. Despite these consequences, airports have played a crucial role since the start of the pandemic by continuing to provide essential air services, including traveling to medical appointments, air ambulance services, community resupply, getting goods to market, search and rescue operations, and forest fire response.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, launched two new contribution funding programs to help Canada’s airports recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • The Airport Critical Infrastructure Program (ACIP) is a new program providing close to $490 million to financially assist Canada’s larger airports with investments in critical infrastructure-related to safety, security or connectivity;
  • The Airport Relief Fund (ARF) is a new program providing almost $65 million in financial relief to targeted Canadian airports to help maintain operations.

In addition to launching these two new funding programs, the Minister announced that Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) is receiving a funding top-up of $186 million over two years. The ACAP is an existing contribution funding program which provides financial assistance to Canada’s local and regional airports for safety-related infrastructure projects and equipment purchases.

Quote

“Canada’s airports are major contributors to our country’s economy, and play a key role in sustaining the social and economic well-being of our communities, and our local airport workers. These programs will help ensure that, as Canada works towards recovery and travel restart post pandemic, our airports remain viable and continue to provide Canadians with safe, reliable and efficient travel options, while creating and maintaining good paying jobs in the airport sector.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

Quick Facts

  • The Airport Critical Infrastructure Program (ACIP), the Airport Relief Fund (ARF), and the Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) funding top-up and program expansion were originally announced in the Fall Economic Statement in November 2020.
  • The Airport Critical Infrastructure Program (ACIP) will distribute $489.6 million in funding over five years to airports for eligible projects such as runway repairs/rehabilitation, airfield lighting enhancements, investments in terminal buildings, and transit stations to ensure connectivity to mass transit systems.
  • On April 15, 2021, the Government of Canada announced a contribution of up to $100 million towards the $600-million project to construct a new Réseau express métropolitain (REM) light rail underground station at the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport. Federal funding for this project comes from the Airport Critical Infrastructure Program (ACIP).
  • The Airport Relief Fund will provide $64.8 million in funding to airports whose 2019 revenues were less than $250 million. The amount of funding to each targeted eligible recipient will be calculated using a tiered formula-based approach, based on 2019 revenues.
  • In addition to the one-time funding top-up of $186 million, eligibility for the Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) has been temporarily expanded to allow National Airport System airports with less than one million annual passengers in 2019 (Gander, Charlottetown, Saint John, Fredericton, Moncton, Thunder Bay, London, and Prince George) to apply for funding under the Program in 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.
  • For 2021-2022, funding has been awarded to 63 airports for 86 ACAP projects, including runway and taxiway repairs/rehabilitation, lighting enhancements, purchasing snow clearing equipment and firefighting vehicles and installing wildlife fencing.

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