Notice to Industry - Elimination of the After-Hours Service for Air Charters
This notice is to inform the industry that the Canadian Transportation Agency intends to abolish its after-hours service effective September 30, 2013.
It also outlines the immediate measures the Agency is taking to reduce the number of calls received after regular business hours until the service is eliminated, as well as the measures the Agency is taking to continue to be responsive to truly urgent situations and to minimize the potential impact of this change.
2. ELIMINATION OF THE AFTER-HOURS SERVICE – A STAGED APPROACH
As part of its air charter program, the Agency currently administers an after-hours service which is meant to be used by air carriers in emergency situations occurring at night or during weekends and holidays.
The Agency recently conducted a thorough assessment of the after-hours service and has determined that it is primarily being used by a few air carriers that are repeat users, as well as for non-urgent matters that could be handled during regular business hours.
In light of this, and to streamline existing business processes and reduce costs, the Agency has decided to eliminate the after-hours service through a phased approach, as described below.
2.1 IMMEDIATE MEASURES
Effective from the date of this notice, the after-hours service will be available only for truly urgent circumstances that cannot be handled during the Agency’s core business hours. More specifically:
i. Carriers must file ALL notifications by facsimile at 819-953-5562 or by e-mail to the following address – FAX-LATA-ALCD@otc-cta.gc.ca. This typically includes notifications with respect to:
- the operation of foreign-originating charter flights (other than fifth/seventh freedom flights);
- the operation of charter flights originating in the U.S. (other than fifth/seventh freedom flights);
- the operation of cargo charter flights by a U.S. carrier originating in a third country; and
- the use of aircraft and flight crew of another carrier pursuant to section 8.3 of the Air Transportation Regulations (ATR).
ii. Carriers who use the after-hours service to obtain Agency approvals must now provide a written justification with substantiation as to why the Agency should consider their request outside of the Agency’s core hours and exempt them from the filing time requirement specified in the ATR. This justification must be provided by email to the following address - FAX-LATA-ALCD@otc-cta.gc.ca.
This would typically include urgent requests for approval/permits to operate:
- Canadian-originating entity charter flights; and
- Canadian and foreign-originating fifth/seventh freedom charter flights (where in addition to notifying or obtaining a permit, the carrier must request that a condition be added to its non-scheduled international licence pursuant to subsection 74(1) of the Canada Transportation Act).
The Agency will consider each request and determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether it is convinced that the request is truly urgent in nature, and one that could not have otherwise been planned for and handled during normal business hours.
The minimum filing time provided for under the ATR ranges from 48 hours (third/fourth freedom) up to 30 days (fifth/seventh freedom) before the first flight. Carriers should not assume that their request for an abridgement of time will be approved. They are therefore encouraged to inform their repeat customers of this change in approach for handling these applications, and to plan the submission of their application sufficiently in advance to avoid unnecessarily resorting to the after-hours service and potentially facing a denial on short notice.
iii. Carriers who require information on the Agency's services should visit the Agency’s Web site or contact the Agency during normal business hours. Inquiries and other information requests of this nature will no longer be responded to through the after-hours service.
2.2 OTHER MEASURES
While the Agency’s assessment is that the after-hours service has primarily been used for non-urgent matters that could be handled during regular business hours, the Agency recognizes that there are legitimate urgent requests. With the intent of continuing to be responsive to these very few requests, the Agency will be implementing the following measures to minimize the potential impact that the elimination of the after-hours service may have on carriers and their clients.
3. Canadian-Originating Entity Charters
On request, the Agency will consider exempting carriers from the requirement to obtain a permit for Canadian-originating passenger, cargo and livestock entity charters, on a case-by-case basis. In support of their request, carriers must demonstrate why the exemption is necessary, including a description of the anticipated substantial impact, if any, that the discontinuance of the after-hours service will have on their operation.
Carriers who wish to seek this exemption are encouraged to file their request well before September 30, 2013 so as to ensure that their request can be processed before the after-hours service is discontinued. Meanwhile, the measures described in section 2.1 ii. above will be applied to all requests received on the after-hours service.
Note that carriers that do not obtain the necessary exemption will be required to obtain their program permit during core business hours following the discontinuance of the after-hours service.
4. Canadian and foreign originating fifth/seventh freedom air ambulance charter flights
The Agency is in the process of developing a proposed solution to continue to be responsive to the needs of the few carriers that operate time-sensitive fifth/seventh freedom air ambulance charter flights.
In the coming months, the Agency will consult with the Canadian industry on this proposal. Results of the consultation will be communicated to the after-hours service users in due course, prior to September 30, 2013. Meanwhile, the measures described in section 2.1 ii. above will be applied to all requests received on the after-hours service.
Based on the Agency’s assessment, there is no evidence that other fifth/seventh freedom requests previously handled after hours were truly urgent and could not have been handled during core business hours.
5. Other requests/authorities
While the after-hours service has, on occasion, been used to grant other authorities, these situations have been the exception which neither justifies maintaining the after-hours service nor taking particular measures to address them, should they surface again in the future.
6. For further information