Editor’s note: The story appearing in the Jan. 13 print edition of the Hay River Hub went to press before the announcement that Buffalo Airways was cleared to resume operations by Transport Canada. The following article provides the most recent information received by The Hub.
Buffalo Airways is set to resume flights after Transport Canada lifted a suspension of its operations, the company’s general manager said Tuesday.
The Hay River-based company was notified around 4 p.m., Jan. 12 by the regulator that the suspension issued Nov. 30 had been lifted, said Bruce Jonasson.
“It means that we’re going back to work,” he said shortly after receiving the update from Transport Canada
A spokesperson with the federal department did not immediately return a request for comment.
During the six-week suspension, the company was prohibited from flying. To maintain service, it hired chartered flights for cargo and passenger service.
However, on Dec. 24, the company ended chartered passenger flights to Hay River.
The company’s cargo flights will be the first to resume service within days, Jonasson said.
“The passenger service to Hay River is on hold for the moment,” he said.
That’s because the company won’t immediately be able to jump back into regular operations.
The company also hired Sol Taboada with DTI Training as a consultant to help address issues raised by Transport Canada.
In a news release last year, the department said it acted because of the company’s “poor safety record.”
Jonasson said the company worked hard to address the corrective actions required by Transport Canada.
During the suspension, Jonasson said the company was still paying its employees.
“It’s been awful over the Christmas season,” he said about the impact on staff.
He estimated the financial impact was in the range of $1.5 million.
Transport Canada has previously said it would only allow the company to fly once it had demonstrated it could safely operate.
“Transport Canada has a duty to protect Canadians, including Northerners, from unsafe air operators and the department will only terminate this suspension when Buffalo Airways has adequately addressed our safety concerns,” spokesperson Amber Wonko wrote in an e-mailed statement from before the suspension was lifted.