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Pilot accused of boozing fired

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Monday, June 11, 2012

Canadian North fired one of its pilots for violating the company's alcohol consumption policy, the airline announced on June 5.

The airline grounded scheduled flight 605 out of Qikiqtarjuaq on May 31 after it received accusations against a crew member. Canadian North is alleging that the flight's captain consumed alcohol within 12 hours of reporting for duty, which is in violation of company policy, stated Lisa Hicks, a spokesperson for the airline. She added an internal investigation led the airline to believe the captain consumed alcohol within eight hours of acting as a crew member, contrary to Canadian aviation regulations.

With that information, Canadian North dismissed the pilot for contravening company policy, stated Hicks.

Canadian North president Tracy Medve stated, in a press release, "We will do everything within our power to enure this does not happen again."

A Transport Canada incident report states a security guard at the Iqaluit airport advised Canadian North a crew member aboard the flight to Qikiqtarjuaq smelled of alcohol. It adds the airline requested the RCMP meet the Dash-8 plane on its arrival to Qikiqtarjuaq. The crew was questioned and a blood test was conducted, the report states. It adds Iqaluit RCMP advised Transport Canada a crew member was detained on suspicion of flying with an elevated blood-alcohol level.

The plane had stopped in Pangnirtung on its way to Qikiqtarjuaq.

Canadian North declined to reveal the pilot's name, age and years of service with the airline, citing privacy reasons.

Six people were scheduled to be on board the flight from Qikiqtarjuaq to Iqaluit.

Transport Canada has launched an investigation in relation to the incident. Canadian North stated it will continue co-operating with the official investigation into this matter.

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