OTTAWA — Transport Canada says it has grounded the airline that operated the plane that crashed in northern Saskatchewan earlier this month.
A West Wind Aviation ATR42-320 with 25 people on board went down on Dec. 13 shortly after taking off from the Fond du Lac airstrip.
Everyone survived, but seven people were seriously injured.
Transport Canada said Friday that it has suspended the airline’s operator certificate, citing deficiencies in the company’s operational control system.
It said such systems ensure a company is following safety rules for dispatching staff and aircraft.
“In the interest of public safety, Transport Canada suspended West Wind Aviation’s Air Operator Certificate and will not allow the company to resume its commercial air service until it demonstrates compliance with aviation safety regulations,” the department said in a post on its website.
“Transport Canada takes its aviation safety oversight role very seriously and expects every air operator to fully comply with aviation safety regulations.”
West Wind said it has received the order but had already voluntarily suspended all flying operations.
“We are working diligently to resolve any issues, with the aim of restarting operations as soon as possible,” the Saskatoon-based company said in an email.
“Safety is our number one priority, and we look forward to improving our processes to continue to serve our communities and customers.”
On Wednesday, the Transportation Safety Board said it had eliminated engine failure as the cause of the crash.
There was no explosion or fire on impact.
A TSB investigator said it was remarkable there was no fire.
The board said the cause of the crash has not been determined and investigators are still looking at weather conditions, runway length, aircraft maintenance, pilot training and operational policies.
Transport Canada said it does not hesitate to take action when regulatory non-compliance is identified and the department will continue to monitor West Wind Aviation’s actions as it works towards compliance with aviation safety regulations.
John Cotter, The Canadian Press