An Island Express Air plane slid off a runway at Abbotsford International Airport last Friday during a snowstorm.

Transport Canada says Island Express Air contravened federal regulations

Airline grounded following incident; daily flights from Qualicum Beach supposed to start March 5

The operator of the plane that slid off the runway at Abbotsford International Airport was fined $30,000 last year for repeatedly allowing improperly maintained aircraft to take off.

Transport Canada announced Wednesday that it had suspended Island Express Air’s air operator certificate due to last week’s accident and “contraventions of the Canadian Aviation Regulations.”

At least two people were hospitalized last Friday after the California-bound charter plane operated by Island Express Air slid off the runway at YXX while attempting to take off.

Island Express Air announced in February that it would be launching daily flights from Qualicum Beach starting Monday, March 5.

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Transport Canada issued the following news release Wednesday:

“Today, Transport Canada suspended Island Express Air’s Air Operator Certificate. The suspension prohibits the company from providing commercial air services. The department took this action in the interest of public safety due to the airline’s February 23, 2018 accident in Abbotsford, BC and its contraventions of the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

“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… We will continue to monitor Island Express Air’s actions as the company works towards compliance with aviation safety regulations.”

Dale Nielsen of Island Express Air told The Abbotsford News Wednesday that the company was working with Transport Canada on addressing the issues, but didn’t have a date on when the airline – which regularly flies between Abbotsford, airports on Vancouver Island, and Boundary Bay – would resume service.

Transport Canada’s record of corporate offenders shows that the airline had, on six occasions, “permitted a take-off to be conducted in an aircraft that was in their legal custody and control, which was not maintained in accordance with a maintenance schedule that conforms to the Aircraft Equipment and Maintenance standards.” The incidents cited took place in January and February of 2017.

The company had previously been fined $5,000 for allowing an aircraft to take off in 2011 “when it did not meet the requirements of applicable Airworthiness Directives.” And another $5,000 fine was levied in 2016 for allowing a “person to act as a flight crew member in an aircraft when the person had not fulfilled the requirements of the air operator’s ground and flight training program.” That incident took place in May of 2015.