Buffalo Airways working to get Hay River to Yellowknife passenger service restored

Evan Kiyoshi French/NNSL photo Mikey McBryan, of Buffalo Airways, stands with the recently-retrofitted Lockheed Electra transport plane the company has spent $4 million turning into a water bomber for use against NWT wild fires.

Evan Kiyoshi French/NNSL photo
Mikey McBryan, of Buffalo Airways, stands with the recently-retrofitted Lockheed Electra transport plane the company has spent $4 million turning into a water bomber for use against NWT wild fires.

No date has yet been set but Buffalo Airways is aiming to resume its scheduled service been Hay River and Yellowknife.

“Here at Buffalo, we’re working incredibly hard to get our passenger service up in the air,” said Mikey McBryan of the company.

McBryan said Buffalo Airways has been flying passengers between the two communities since 1982, except for the current break.

On Nov. 30, Transport Canada suspended Buffalo Airways’ air operator certificate because of the company’s “poor” aviation safety record and insufficient record-keeping for things such as pilot’s checks and maintenance checks.

The federal regulator’s suspension was lifted Jan. 12.

To maintain service during the suspension, Buffalo Airways chartered aircraft for cargo and passenger service.

However, on Dec. 24, the company ended chartered passenger flights to Hay River.

“It will be returning but no news,” McBryan said on Jan. 28, adding he can’t offer specifics times.

“Hay River is the home of Buffalo Airways and we’re committed to serving the community,” he said.

McBryan said his sister, Kathy McBryan, will be working as of Feb. 1 toward getting the passenger service resumed between Hay River and Yellowknife.

Her main role with the company is as flight attendant manager.

“She is now the head person for getting it all back to going,” said Mikey McBryan. “And I know everyone has been waiting to get back in the DC-3. I have. I have to drive back and forth, so I’m just like everyone else. As a Buffalo employee and as a resident of Hay River, I want that DC-3 back in the air.”

One of Kathy McBryan’s duties will be to retrain flight attendants.

Buffalo Airways’ air operator certificate was restored on Jan. 12 after Transport Canada approved the company’s corrective action plans.

Those plans address Transport Canada’s concerns regarding the company’s safety record and its ability to keep its operations consistently compliant with aviation safety regulations.

-Paul Bickford