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Pilot Group Wants Laser Ban

Air Canada Pilots Association wants a ban on lasers.
Air Canada Pilots Association wants a ban on handheld lasers.

The head of the Air Canada Pilots Association wants handheld lasers declared prohibited weapons in Canada.

Capt. Ian Smith said public education and the already-stiff penalties available for enforcement are not working and the solution is to keep the devices out of the hands of people.

He noted laser incidents increased 17 percent to 590 in 2015 and that’s three times the rate of 2009 when the problem was coming into prominence.

He told the CBC that most incidents occur during takeoff and landing and that’s a risk to the occupants of the aircraft and those on the ground.

“If the education process is ineffective… I think it only leaves us one other avenue,” he said.

“We cannot be nice about this anymore, because when we’re flying an aircraft we have 200 people behind us — innocent people,” Smith said. “You can’t just give someone a little slap on the wrist and send him back home again.

“It’s not working.”

Anyone caught pointing a laser at an aircraft can face criminal charges and Aeronautics Act sanctions that can include a $100,000 fine and five years in jail.

But the devices are legal to own and Smith wants authorities to be able to seize them even before they reach customers, who mostly buy them over the Internet.

Transat Deal Averts Strike

Air Transat pilots have a tentative contract.
Air Transat pilots have a tentative contract.

The Air Line Pilots Association and Air Transat reached a tentative five-year contract deal Wednesday.

The deal, which came after months of acrimonious negotiations, ended the threat of a strike, which could have happened as early as next Monday.

The deal has to be ratified by the membership but acceptance is expected. The vote will be held in March. Pilots have been without a contract since last May.

The union represents more than 500 pilots and they voted 97 percent in favour of strike action in a vote earlier this month.

The main sticking point was money. Pilots say they gave concessions when the airline was in financial difficulty and now that it’s doing well they expect to share in the profits.

There have been no service disruptions because of the labour issues.

CSeries Competition Rolls Out

Embraer is rolling out the E190-E2 Thursday.
Embraer is rolling out the E190-E2 Thursday.

The aircraft that will be the most direct competition to Bombardier’s Series was scheduled to roll out of a hangar in Sao Paulo, Brazil Thursday.

Embraer will unveil the E-190-E2, the update of the twin-engine large regional jet that essentially created the category about 20 years ago.

Embraer sold hundreds of the first iteration of the aircraft, including some to Air Canada, and is hoping the modernized version will preserve its market share and blunt Bombardier’s entry to the market.

And in an unusual step, the company announced a major redesign of the aircraft on the eve of the rollout.

Embraer says a 1.4 metre wingtip extension and a 4,000 pound increase in takeoff weight on the largest version (E195) of the aircraft giving it an extra 450-nautical mile range to 2450 nm.

The new family of aircraft will have three different wing designs, something the company said is a result of an evolutionary design process.

The aircraft will have the same engines as the CSeries, Pratt&Whitney’s new geared turbofan PW1900.

Air Canada Pilots Elect New Chair

Air Canada Pilot Association has a new Chair, Capt. Kevin Valiant
Air Canada Pilot Association has a new Chair, Capt. Kevin Vaillant

The Master Elected Council (MEC) of the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) elected Captain Kevin Vaillant as chair for a three-year term, effective April 1.

“I would like to thank the MEC for the confidence they have shown in me, and I look forward to working with my fellow elected representatives and Air Canada for the mutual benefit of our membership and the Company,” said Vaillant.

Capt. Vaillant is based in Toronto and is currently a Boeing 787 captain. He has a wealth of ACPA experience, dating back to the formation of ACPA in 1995. Captain Vaillant has served on the MEC five times, and most recently was chair of the negotiating committee. He has also chaired the Industrial Action Committee and been a member of the Negotiating, Scope, Grievance and External Affairs Committees. Capt. Vaillant has been an Air Canada pilot since 1988, joining the airline after his military career, during which he flew the CF 104 and CF5.