Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut June 04, 2012 - 7:29 pm

Canadian North fires boozing Dash 8 pilot

"We will do everything within our power to ensure this does not happen again."


(Updated 4:40 p.m., June 5)

The Canadian North airline has fired the captain of Dash 8 flight 605 for contravening the company’s alcohol consumption policy, the company said in a statement June 5.

The pilot, detained by the RCMP in Qikiqtarjuaq May 31 after flying a De Havilland Dash 8 passenger aircraft into the community from Iqaluit, faces a possible criminal investigation for consuming alcohol while operating an aircraft, a Transport Canada incident report said June 4.

And an internal company investigation has already concluded that the captain of the aircraft “contravened Canadian North’s strict policy prohibiting the consumption of alcohol within twelve hours of reporting for duty,” the company said.

The company said the pilot also breached a Transport Canada regulation that prohibits the consumption of alcohol within eight hours of acting as a crew member.

“This is a fundamental obligation of a pilot for the privilege of holding a commercial pilot’s licence and I am profoundly disappointed this individual chose to disregard these requirements.  We will do everything within our power to ensure this does not happen again,” Tracy Medve, president of Canadian North, said in a news release.

A report posted June 4 on a web site called the Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System, known as CADORS, by Rod Ridley, a civil aviation safety inspector at Transport Canada, said a Canadian North pilot was suspected of consuming alcohol while operating an aircraft.

“Canadian North Operations in Edmonton were reportedly contacted by a security officer at the Iqaluit airport who advised them that a crew member on the flight to CYVM [Qikiqtarjuaq] smelled of alcohol,” the report said.

The report describes the incident as an alleged infraction of Canadian aviation regulations and cites “crew incapacitation.”

The CADORS report said a security officer at the Iqaluit airport contacted Canadian North’s operations centre in Edmonton May 31.

The security officer told the airline that a “crew member on the flight to CYVM smelled of alcohol.”

Canadian North then called the RCMP and asked them to meet the flight.

After the aircraft landed in Qikiqtarjuaq, the crew were detained and brought to the local RCMP detachment for questioning, the CADORS report said.

After those police interviews, “a blood test was authorized and conducted by a local nurse.”

The CADORS report said charges under the Criminal Code are pending, based on the results of the blood test.

“Aviation Enforcement and RCMP are co-operating in the investigation,” the report said.

The plane was not damaged and no one was injured in the incident. It’s not clear how many passengers, if any, travelled on the flight.

Canadian North said they have no information about the RCMP investigation, but they will co-operate in all official investigations of the matter.

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