An Island Express Air plane slid off a runway at Abbotsford International Airport last Friday during a snowstorm.

UPDATED: Airline grounded after take-off accident was fined $30,000 last year

Island Express Air had flown planes that hadn’t been maintained according to proper procedures

The operator of the plane that slid off the runway at Abbotsford International Airport was fined $30,000 last year for repeatedly allowing improperly maintained aircraft to take off.

Transport Canada announced Wednesday that it had suspended Island Express Air’s air operator certificate due to last week’s accident and “contraventions of the Canadian Aviation Regulations.”

At least two people were hospitalized last Friday after the California-bound charter plane operated by Island Express Air slid off the runway at YXX while attempting to take off.

“In light of these threats to public safety, Transport Canada will not allow Island Express Air to resume its commercial air service until it proves it can keep its operations consistently compliant with aviation safety regulations,” Transport Canada said in a press release Wednesday. “Transport Canada takes aviation safety seriously and expects all air operators to fully comply with aviation safety regulations. The department does not hesitate to take action when regulatory non-compliance is identified. We will continue to monitor Island Express Air’s actions as the company works towards compliance with aviation safety regulations.”

Transport Canada’s record of corporate offenders shows that the airline had, on six occasions, “permitted a take-off to be conducted in an aircraft that was in their legal custody and control, which was not maintained in accordance with a maintenance schedule that conforms to the Aircraft Equipment and Maintenance standards.” The incidents cited took place in January and February of 2017.

The company had previously been fined $5,000 for allowing an aircraft to take off in 2011 “when it did not meet the requirements of applicable Airworthiness Directives.” And another $5,000 fine was levied in 2016 for allowing a “person to act as a flight crew member in an aircraft when the person had not fulfilled the requirements of the air operator’s ground and flight training program.” That incident took place in May of 2015.

Dale Nielsen of Island Express Air told The News Wednesday that the company was working with Transport Canada on addressing the issues, but didn’t have a date on when the airline – which regularly flies between Abbotsford, airports on Vancouver Island, and Boundary Bay – would resume service.

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