Buffalo Airways' Grounding Lifted
A familiar growl will return to the skies over Yellowknife in Canada's Northwest Territories Wednesday as the iconic Buffalo Airways returns to the air. The cargo and passenger carrier, made famous by the reality TV series Ice Pilots NWT, was grounded six weeks ago by Transport Canada over safety and administrative concerns. Transport Canada restored the company's operating certificate late Tuesday but said the company, owned by "Buffalo Joe" McBryan and his family, will be on a short leash to ensure it maintains the programs and paperwork it rectified during the long suspension. In a news release, TC said it will closely monitor Buffalo to "verify that its corrective action is implemented and sustained." It did not offer details on the shortcomings or their solutions.
Buffalo uses mainly 1940s- and 1950s-era DC-3, C-46 and DC-4 piston-powered aircraft to serve far-flung Arctic communities with freight and passenger service. The television show often depicted in-flight emergencies and other problems. It also showed a well-developed feud between the elder McBryan and Transport Canada officials. Reports from Yellowknife said Joe McBryan had agreed to step out of the management role at the carrier but he will continue as a pilot on the DC-3 that offers scheduled service between his home of Hay River and Buffalo's Yellowknife headquarters. During the grounding, passenger service was suspended but Buffalo maintained its cargo flights using chartered aircraft. None of the company's more than 100 employees was laid off during the suspension.