Aviation Companies Launch Olympics Suit

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A coalition of six Vancouver-area aviation businesses is suing the Canadian Ministry of Transport for lost business resulting from the flight restrictions imposed during the 2010 Olympic Games. Mike Skrobica, of the Air Transport Association of Canada (ATAC) announced the suit at ATAC's annual meeting in Vancouver on Monday. He told AVweb the companies are claiming lost revenue of almost $1 million. The Canadian government enforced flight restrictions over Vancouver and the resort area of Whistler for about a month from just before the start of the Games in February until just after the opening of the Paralympic Games, which follow the Olympics. The flight restrictions cut or curtailed most training, sight seeing and charter operations. Skrobica said Transport Canada normally compensates companies for such disruptions but didn't in the case of the Olympics. "We're hoping the ministry makes us an offer," Skrobica said, noting the case will be launched with a news conference in Vancouver this week. Collette Morin, owner of Glacier Air, one of the six companies involved in the suit, said the Olympics hurt her business significantly.

"We are still struggling from interruption in cash flow," she said. "People assumed we would be really busy during the Olympics but we were shut down." She said it would technically have been possible to conduct limited operations during the Olympics but the rules made it impractical. For instance, to conduct charters from its home base of Squamish, midway between Vancouver and Whistler, Glacier would first have had to fly outside the restricted area to a "gateway" airport for security checks before conducting the charter. Others involved in the suit include flight schools and other small charters.