Aviation In Canada

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Canjet Flight

I'm not sure how many headlines this story made out west, but about a week ago, a CanJet 737 made an unpressurized flight from CYYZ, planned into CYHZ. This made the news as passengers were quoted as being incredibly distressed that the airliner was unpressurized so their ears were popping, and then, to top it off, they wouldn't land at Halifax, the bastards! They complained as if Canjet was the only one who wouldn't land there.

First things first, what's the cabin pressure in a B737 at 37,000 feet? Something like 6,000 to 8,000 feet, no? The B737 that flew out of CYYZ on June 27 only flew at 10,000 or so. So the pressure wouldn't have been all that different from what they would have experienced anyway. Maybe someone can provide some details on what the normal cabin pressue would have been to compare to what they experienced. I'd like to know why this was reported to be so different from the usual.

Secondly, Canjet wasn't the only one not to land. You see, the Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA) decided it was time to reconstruct the entire surface at the airport. In several stages, they're tearing apart the runways and taxiways to rebuild them. This is (hopefully) the worst of the stages in that they are working on 15/33, but so near to the glidepath antenna for R24 that they've had to shut it down. So let's look at this for a second. At the peak of summer traffic, the airport has chosen to effectively remove all ILS from use, and rely solely on one localizer and two NDB approaches to land airplanes, and the only CAT II equipped airport in the maritime provinces. There's a reason they're CAT II equipped -- They need it often! Yesterday, only a handful of flights made it in at all, and most were diverted to CYQM, CYFC, CYYG, CYYT and CYUL, among other places. Moncton's ramp was nearly full, while the hotels were chalk full for the holiday weekend. Good planning, guys. It's like taking away an ATC radar on a VFR day, since IFR traffic can do visuals and ATC won't need it. Yeah, right.

Anyway, CanJet wasn't the only one to miss that night for the very same reason, and nobody else got any attention for not making their destination. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to defend an airline. They're big enough to do that. I just can't stand the fact that the public seems to have no interest in learning about the tubes they're flying in, and the media feeds on that, since they don't know any better, either. Our local paper, by a staff reporter, said they had no idea why the ILS wasn't operating at CYHZ. The construction has only been going on since May, and all they had to do was ask any source, a pilot or an ATC (Hey, there are only 150 of us here in Moncton) not to mention, you know, actually calling the airport authority and asking. One would think that a reporter would have already done this and found out that reason after June 27th's incident and the hubbub it raised.