VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – Six small airlines and flight schools claim Canada’s attorney general and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority financially crippled them by imposing onerous flight restrictions in and around Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Lead plaintiff claim K.D. Air Corp. says the crippling restrictions in the “Olympic Control Area,” were in effect from January to March this year.
The plaintiffs are all members of the Air Transport Association of Canada. Before the Games, the association “made various efforts to try to convince the Crown to take steps to strike a reasonable and tolerable balance between the need for adequate security and need to protect small air operations and their employees from serious economic detriment,” the complaint states.
But suggestions on how to mitigate the harm fell flat, and the defendants failed to set up a compensation scheme for the companies, as is done during other events where flight restrictions are imposed, such as the recent G-8 summit.
Restrictions included prohibitions of solo student flights, night flights on certain dates, and sightseeing tours. The companies also had to register all flights in advance and use facilities with security screening checkpoints.
“The flight restrictions, regulations, and the defendants’ implementation and handling of the same were particularly onerous to the plaintiffs due to the tight margins between revenue and expenses for small flight operators generally, such that the inability to earn sufficient revenue within even a short period of time can financially cripple such business,” the complaint states.
Plaintiffs include K.D. Air Corp., the Pacific Flying Club, Pacific Coastal Airlines, the Pacific Professional Flight Centre, C. Morin Aviation (B.C.), and Montair Aviation. They are represented in B.C. Supreme Court by Joanne Kuroyama with Gowling Lafleur Henderson.
The complaint was filed the day after the City of Vancouver acknowledged in a court filing that it is more than $500 million in the hole due to the collapse of a company that helped to build the Olympic Village for athletes, and the subsequent inability to sell the apartments as pricey, $500,000 condos.