British Columbia

B.C. airline's licence suspended after snowy runway skid that injured 2

A B.C. airline has had its operating licence suspended while Transport Canada investigates an accident that injured 2 people after an aircraft skidded off a runway during a snowstorm in Abbotsford.

Island Express Air fined $30,000 in 2017 for maintenance infractions

Four people suffered minor injuries when this Island Express Air plane skidded off the runway with 10 people on board at Abbotsford International Airport early Friday afternoon (Nicolas Amaya/CBC)

Transport Canada has suspended a B.C. airline's licence after two people were hurt when one of the company's planes skidded off a runway during a snowstorm in Abbotsford last week.

Island Express Air has lost its air operator certificate due to the airline's "contraventions" of Canadian aviation regulations — and not just in relation to the runway incident.

"In light of these threats to public safety, Transport Canada will not allow Island Express Air to resume its commercial air service, until it proves it can keep its operations consistently compliant with aviation safety regulations," said a statement.

2 hospitalized after 'precautionary landing'

On Feb. 23, a King Air B100 operated by Island Express Air was involved in what the airline described as a "precautionary landing" at the Abbotsford International Airport.

Neither Transport Canada nor Island Express Air have provided details on the accident or its cause, but the airport's general manager, Parm Sidhu, told CBC News that two of the plane's 10 passengers were taken to hospital and two were treated for minor injuries.

Weather at the time included cold temperatures and blowing snow, but authorities haven't said whether they contributed to the slip.

Past trouble

In December, the airline was penalized for sending planes into the air when they weren't being mantained in line with Transport Canada regulations.

The company allowed six such takeoffs over a three-week period. Transport Canada fined the airline $30,000 as a result.

The agency didn't say if maintenance played a role in the Abbotsford incident.

Operations voluntarily suspended

Dale Nielsen, a spokesperson for Island Express Air, says the airline voluntarily suspended all operations immediately after the incident, prior to the suspension from Transport Canada.

Nielsen said the airline is conducting an internal investigation and working with Transport Canada to resolve any safety issues and get its planes back in the air.

"It's nothing that's not fixable," Nielsen said. "When they're fixed and Transport Canada is satisfied, then we will continue operating."

Nielsen said customers that had previous reservations with the airline have been offered refunds.

Transport Canada was not able to make anyone available for comment.

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