Buffalo Airways Still Grounded
Even Buffalo Joe McBryan, owner and president of Buffalo Airways, stepping away from operations may not be enough to get the airline flying again.
On November 30, Transport Canada grounded Buffalo citing a "poor safety record." (See earlier post) following the crash of a DC3 owned by the company. (see video below)
While the airline has continued to use charters they announced Thursday that they were stopping passenger flights between Yellowknife and Hay River, N.W.T. The airline had been chartering other companies’ aircraft to operate its passenger flights but can no longer afford it. Meetings with Transport Canada on December 11th did not go well.
All 113 employees continue to be paid salaries but Buffalo is not taking in revenue. The company has also hired DTI Training, the consulting firm that has helped write Transport Canada's quality control procedures and has worked with NASA among others.
On the DTI website there is a quote from J.H. Program Coordinator Transport Canada that says, "FANTASTIC TRAINERS! Sol and his brother Dennis won contracts with Transport Canada on more then one occasion. I had the opportunity to see DTI at work in the classroom and as an administrative executive. I was consistently impressed with the quality of DTI's training techniques, their in class persona and professional ethics."
Sol Taboada who runs DTI along with his brother Dennis (photos below), told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that having "Buffalo Joe," step away was "an extreme step" in response to pressure from Transport Canada and that he feels the regulator isn't treating Buffalo fairly. "You've got 113 employees twisting in the wind, not knowing if they're going to have a job. It's just not right," he told the CBC. "Either let them operate to see if we've corrected these problems, or chop the head off right now. Just do it, and get it over with."
Mikey McBryan told a Yellowknife website, "The feud between my father and Transport Canada has been well-documented. He is stepping away from the management system of the day-to-day operations, but he’s still a pilot, he still loves the DC-3 and you’ll see that in the future. But as of right now, he’s stepping away from the day-to-day operations. The DC-3 is one of the most iconic aircraft of all time. And here we’ve got the highest-timed pilot, on the longest-running route of the longest-running operator. He is not retiring from flying the DC-3."
Transport Canada says it continues to work with Buffalo Airways to address the safety concerns identified.