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Mulcair Pledges Aerospace Funding
Aviation doesn’t often come up in election campaigns but NDP leader Thomas Mulcair broke that mold with a major announcement in Montreal on Tuesday.
Mulcair pledged to create a $160 million fund to help small and medium-sized aerospace companies become more competitive in the global market. The money would be used to help them invest in new technology and products.
Mulcair also said he would further support the industry by leading trade delegations abroad to promote Canadian aerospace.
He made the promises against a backdrop of continuing problems in the industry, notably the recent layoff of 2,100 workers at Bombardier.
COPA Responds To Aerodrome Regs
The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association sent a 17-page response to Transport Canada’s proposal to allow more public input into aviation-related construction projects.
TC’s Notice of Proposed Amendment to the regulations follows the lead of Transport Minister Lisa Raitt who called for more consultation with local stakeholders when new airports are built and when significant construction projects within airports are proposed.
The NPA targets all aerodromes and one of COPA’s main points is that seaplane bases should be exempt because of their minimal impact on land use and function.
There are also a lot of suggestions for tweaks to the various triggers that would prompt a public input process.
But COPA also takes issue with the fundamental fairness of the process and the murky circumstances under which the minister, as the sole authority, makes the decision on whether to allow the project to go ahead.
The regulations are geared towards identifying the triggering mechanism that must result in a decision, but are silent on the most important aspect of the proposed regulation, being the decision itself,” COPA said in its submission. “We strongly suspect this lack of detail and clarity will very quickly result in difficulties in the future for the Minister and aerodrome operators and proponents, with the associated negative impact on the aviation industry in Canada.”
New Iqualuit Terminal Catches Fire
The bright yellow airport terminal at Iqualuit will be replaced by a modern facility as part of a $300 million airport expansion project by 2017 but the project suffered a setback on Saturday.
The contractor and government officials are investigating a fire that broke out on the roof of the terminal building, which is now under construction.
“It is not clear if this fire will have any effect on the schedule for completion of the Iqaluit International Airport Improvement Project,” read a press release by the territory’s Department of Economic Development and Transportation.
“An engineering investigation by the design builder is necessary beforehand to determine the extent of fire and water damage. However, the fire is not expected to have any effect on the cost of the project for the Government of Nunavut.”
Besides the expansive terminal, the project includes a larger apron, new lighting, upgraded runway and a new firehall/general services building.
Operation of the facility will be contracted out for 30 years.
Canadian Company Eyes Drone Delivery
Online shopping site Shop.ca says it has partnered with Drone Delivery Canada to pioneer small package delivery by drone in Canada.
There are, of course, some regulatory hoops for the project to get through but assuming all that is accomplished the drone company promises “unparalleled, just in time delivery for Shop.ca customers who desire immediate product delivery.”
Shop.ca is equally giddy about the potential. “This partnership marks a milestone for our company,” said Shop.ca founder Trevor Newell. “By embracing drone delivery, Canada’s next generation drone technology, we are further fortifying our commitment to innovation and adding value to our customers.”
The devil, of course, is in the details. Government approval for widespread drone delivery, particularly seems far away at this point given the technological, privacy, and safety concerns that such an operation raises. Possibly the biggest step will be the approval of beyond line-of-sight operations for drones.
Amazon is also investigating drone delivery and is testing its system in B.C. because of the generally more permissive environment in Canada.