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2014-03-02 at 11:38

Major violations

A 2010 celebration at Wasaya
FILE/Leith Dunick
A 2010 celebration at Wasaya's hangar.
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By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com

Transport Canada appears satisfied in Wasaya Airlines’ response to a number of major safety violations uncovered during a recent routine inspection.

Aviation’s governing body on Friday said they’re continuing to monitor the company to ensure compliance is maintained.

“Transport Canada has consistently followed up with the organization and is working with the company on a regular basis to ensure that compliance with regulations is maintained,” spokesman clay Cervoni said in an email to Thunder Bay Television.

The assessment report shows the First Nation-owned airline is not in conformance in a number of key areas, including its safety management plan, documentation, training, awareness and compliance and quality assurance.

Shortfalls suggest company employees did not regularly check the de-icing fluid in Pickle Lake for temperature and viscosity and passengers weren’t being briefed pre-flight in accordance with federal regulations, including the use of personal electronic devices and improperly stowed carry-on baggage or improperly positioned armrests.

Additionally the emergency response plan had not been updated in more than three years and there was no carry-on baggage sizing unit in either Thunder Bay or Sioux Lookout. Finally, an armed peace officer was transported without proper documentation.

There were also issues found relating to both safety oversight and emergency preparedness and response.

A series of interviews, which occurred over a week-long period last year, showed staff had differing levels of safety management plan awareness, with indications employees had started to lose respect for the process.

Wasaya president and CEO Tom Morris says the airline and its employees take all regulations seriously and remains committed to ensuring that the people flying and maintaining their aircraft are above industry standards.

“SMS is designed to be an ever-changing and ever-improving system,” Morris said in an emailed statement. “It is continuously being reviewed by our staff and we have recognized areas of improvement.

This report was issued one year ago in March of 2013. Since then we have been actively working with Transport Canada to continue to support and embrace a culture of safety within the workplace for all of our staff and travellers.”

The company has supplied a corrective action plan to Transport Canada, which says it will continue to monitor and work with the company to ensure compliance.

“Aviation safety is a top priority for Transport Canada. Should safety deficiencies with the company be identified, the department will take appropriate action,” Cervoni said.

The full report, first made public by the Aboriginal People's Television Network, can be downloaded here

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