Transport Canada grounded Canadian Western Airlines two weeks ago after a routine safety audit uncovered several problems, says communications officer Sau Sau Liu.
The small airline had been flying between Masset, Sandspit and Vancouver since January, but abruptly stopped service earlier this month. It also operated routes between Vancouver and Kamloops, and Vancouver and Nanaimo.
“We suspended their air operator certificate Nov. 4,” Ms Liu said. “This action followed an aviation safety audit that identified a number of safety and operation deficiencies, and notification of a vacancy in one of the company’s key management personnel positions.”
Ms Liu said the airline is not allowed to operate without the certificate. It will only be reinstated if the company puts a system in place to meet aviation safety requirements, fills the operations manager position, and meets all other Transport Canada conditions.
Meanwhile, Casey Jarvis, manager of Masset Travel, said many people on the islands have been left holding unused CWA tickets. The airline had been promoting a discount book of 10 tickets which could be used to fly at any time.
People who bought the tickets on their credit card may be able to get refunds from the credit card company, Ms Jarvis said, as long as they have written proof that the airline isn’t flying. She has been helping people find the Transport Canada ruling on the web.
Ms Jarvis said Masset Travel stopped recommending CWA tickets several months ago, although it would still sell them if the customer insisted.
“I just didn’t have a warm fuzzy about them,” she said.
Masset Travel has heard nothing from CWA since it stopped flying and has not been able to reach the company by phone.
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