‘Ice Pilots’ Airline Loses Its Licence To Fly

Open Jaw

It may have a cult following. But Buffalo Airways, the northern Canadian airline chronicled over 6 seasons on TV's Ice Pilots NWT, no longer has a licence to fly.

Transport Canada has grounded the operations of the carrier, suspending its air operator certificate due to its "poor safety record."

 "The department will not allow Buffalo Airways to resume its commercial air service until it proves it can keep its operations consistently compliant with aviation safety regulations," a Transport Canada press release stated.

The airline is renowned for its fleet of ageing aircraft such as the Douglas DC-3 – a type which 1st flew in the 1930s.

On the day of Ice Pilots NWT’s final broadcast, in December 2014, a DC-3 experienced engine trouble shortly after departure from Hay River. It turned back and landed without any reported injuries.

In September 2015, a Buffalo-operated Curtiss C-46 Commando dating to the 1940s was involved in a crash-landing in Deline. Nobody was hurt.

An incident in August 2013, where another Buffalo DC-3 suffered an engine fire on take-off from Yellowknife, drew criticism from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB).

Though the flight’s 21 pax and 3 crew escaped unharmed, the TSB’s report listed a series of failings in the airline’s management and safety practices.

“The organizational culture at Buffalo Airways was not supportive of a system that required the organization to take a proactive role in identifying hazards and reducing risks," the board wrote. "The company's response to deficiencies identified during [Transport Canada] surveillance activities demonstrated an adversarial relationship between the company and the regulator."

The History Channel aired the last episode of Ice Pilots NWT, which depicted the day-to-day operations of Buffalo Airways, in December 2014.

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