Canadian air taxi operators must act to reduce accidents in their sector of the industry, which has more accidents — and more fatalities — than all other sectors of Canada’s commercial aviation industry combined, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) said today.
The TSB included four recommendations in Safety Issue Investigation Report A15H0001, Raising the Bar on Safety: Reducing the Risks Associated With Air-Taxi Operations in Canada. The recommendations call for air taxi operators, their clients and Transport Canada (TC) to work together to “eliminate the acceptance of unsafe practices and to promote both proactive safety management and a positive safety culture,” the TSB said.
The agency also recommended that TC “close known safety gaps in the regulations” and “require all commercial operators to collect data on hours flown and aircraft movements by type of operation, in order to measure whether risk mitigation measures are effective.”
The Canadian air taxi industry includes airplane and helicopter flights that carry fewer than 10 passengers. Flights often are conducted in remote environments with limited infrastructure and limited access to weather information and without the latest technological equipment.
“It is this unique operating context — the diversity of both operations and environment — that exposes air taxi companies to very different risks,” TSB Chair Kathy Fox said.
The TSB report cited data showing that the air taxi sector of the Canadian aviation industry recorded 789 accidents and 240 fatalities from Jan. 1, 2000, through Dec. 31, 2017. Those figures represent 55 percent of all commercial aviation accidents and 62 percent of commercial aviation fatalities, the report said.
Fox said accidents in the air taxi sector often involve “the acceptance of unsafe practices and the inadequate management of operational hazards.”
She noted that over the past 10 years, commercial aviation in Canada has recorded significant safety improvements, but air taxi operations “remain at higher risk.”