Elimination of the After-Hours Service for Air Charters

This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Proposal to accommodate urgent Air ambulance services


As outlined in a recent Notice to Industry issued by the Agency, the after-hours service for air charters will be abolished effective September 30, 2013. 

The Agency has already implemented certain measures to reduce the number of calls received after regular business hours until the service is eliminated, and has outlined measures that it is taking to continue to be responsive to truly urgent situations and to minimize the potential impact of this change. In this regard, the Agency explained that it was developing a proposed solution to continue to be responsive to the needs of the few foreign carriers that operate time-sensitive fifth/seventh freedom air ambulance charter flights and committed to consulting with the Canadian air industry on this proposal.

Proposed New Approach 

Urgent Canadian and foreign originating fifth/seventh freedom air ambulance charter flights by foreign air carriers

Where a foreign carrier’s licence does not authorize the operation of fifth/seventh freedom flights, the Agency can amend a licence, pursuant to subsection 74(1) of the Canada Transportation Act to allow the carrier to operate the flight(s).

The Agency seeks comments from certain Canadian carriers with respect to many of these applications, which are considered based on the merits of each case, and/or reciprocity of opportunity for Canadian charter carriers, depending on the applicant’s country of origin. Due to the last minute nature of air ambulance flights, comments are not sought.

While foreign carriers will have to apply for fifth/seventh freedom approvals during regular business hours, once the after-hours service is abolished, the Agency will provide special consideration to the small number of carriers that operate time-sensitive fifth/seventh freedom air ambulance charter flights. In this regard, the Agency will consider a one-time amendment of these carriers’ non-scheduled international licences upon application.

This proposed new approach would involve granting fifth/seventh freedom rights to a select number of foreign air carriers to allow for urgent air ambulance charter operations to take place without the requirement for advance Agency approval, as long as certain conditions to be established by the Agency are met.

Currently, based on the prior years’ use of the after-hours service, the Agency anticipates that this advance Agency approval would involve approximately five U.S. air carriers and accommodate approximately 20 urgent air ambulance flights per year.

In the interest of transparency, as part of this new approach, the Agency will also publish information/statistics with respect to fifth/seventh freedom approvals on its Web site and invite Canadian industry members to bring forward to the Agency, both within this consultation process and in the future, any issues of concern they may have with respect to reciprocityNote 1 of treatment and comityNote 2 as it relates to fifth/seventh freedom approvals they have sought from foreign countries. 

Your Comments

Any written comments you may have can be submitted to consultations@otc-cta.gc.ca, by August 16, 2013.

Date modified: