Air Transat responds to Transportation Agency after Ottawa tarmac incident

In a written response to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), Air Transat claims that “confluence of factors beyond our control” led to the tarmac delays at the Ottawa airport on July 31.

On that day, passengers on two flights: TS157 (Brussels-Montreal) and TS507 (Rome-Montreal), were diverted to the Ottawa airport because of poor weather. Their planes then remained stranded on the tarmac for between four and six hours. The CTA has since opened an inquiry.

“Most if not all of the aircraft that arrived at CYOW after our affected flights were refuelled and departed before our company’s stranded aircraft,” Air Transat president and CEO Jean-Francois Lemay wrote.

The airline was also not given the overall timing to refuel, which would have permitted them to make “an informed decision on how to manage the situation,” according to Lemay.

“Instead, Air Transat flight deck crews were led to believe that their aircraft would be refuelled within the next 30 minutes, which cycle repeated itself several times,” the airline’s statement says.

In a response posted on its website, the Ottawa Airport Authority wrote that airlines engage third-party firms to handle affairs at the airport, including aircraft marshalling.

“This arrangement would extend to arranging refuelling service and providing all airside equipment necessary to fulfill contractual obligations, as determined in the contract,” spokesperson Krista Kealey, wrote, adding that the relationship rests between the parties and not the airport authority.

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