Decisions

CAT File No. Q-1732-18
MoT File No. 5015-1-10452 (NAH-HUB) (A

CIVIL AVIATION TRIBUNAL

BETWEEN:

Excel Aviation Inc., Applicant

- and -

Minister of Transport, Respondent

LEGISLATION:
Aeronautics Act, S.C., c. A-2, s. 7.1(1)(b)
Canadian Aviation Regulations, SOR/96-433, ss. 573.08

Certificate, AMO, Approved Maintenance Organization, Suspension


Review Determination
Pierre Rivest


Decision: December 23, 1998

TRANSLATION

I uphold the Minister's decision to suspend the Applicant's approved maintenance organization certificate, number 31-97, until such time as the Applicant meets the regulatory requirements.

A review hearing on the above matter was held Tuesday, December 22, 1998, at 10:00 hours at the Federal Court of Canada in Montreal, Quebec. The witnesses were sworn in.

BACKGROUND

Excel Aviation Inc., the Applicant, had its approved maintenance organization (AMO), certificate number 31-97, suspended (Exhibit M-4) because, following a move, its facilities no longer met conditions under which the document was issued.

Specifically, the Minister (the Respondent) alleges that the Applicant has not complied with Part V, Subpart 73, section 573.08 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) and subsection 573.08(4) of the Approved Maintenance Organization Standards (Standards), Chapter 573 of the Airworthiness Manual.

It would be especially necessary for the Applicant to more precisely describe the facilities, equipment and buildings which one required for an AMO, and as well to provide a proper lease agreement or proof of ownership for the use of a hangar or work space.

THE LAW

Paragraph 7.1(1)(b) of the Aeronautics Act provides:

7.1 (1) Where the Minister decides

(...)

(b) to suspend or cancel a Canadian aviation document on the grounds that the holder of the document is incompetent or the holder or any aircraft, airport or other facility in respect of which the document was issued ceases to have the qualifications necessary for the issuance of the document or to meet or comply with the conditions subject to which the document was issued,

(...)

the Minister shall, by personal service or by registered or certified mail sent to the holder or to the owner or operator of the aircraft, airport or facility, as the case may be, at the latest known address of the holder, owner or operator, notify the holder, owner or operator of the Minister's decision.

It is necessary to note the part of the paragraph which states: "...on the grounds that the holder...ceases to have the qualifications necessary for the issuance..."

For its part, section 573.08 of the CARs states:

573.08 (1) An approved maintenance organization (AMO) certificate holder shall provide the facilities and equipment specified in Chapter 573 of the Airworthiness Manual that are necessary for the work to be performed.

(2) Except in cases provided for in a maintenance policy manual (MPM), work performed by an AMO certificate holder shall be performed in the facilities required by subsection (1), unless unforeseen circumstances do not permit the work to be performed in those facilities and the safety of the aircraft is not affected by the fact that the work is performed elsewhere.

(...)

Parallel to this section, the applicable Standards, regarding this case, can be found in section 573.08 of the Standards:

(1) For the purposes of this standard, equipment includes, but is not limited to:

(a) technical and regulatory information;

(b) hand tools;

(c) jigs;

(d) fixtures;

(e) work stands;

(f) test equipment;

(g) calibrated tools;

(h) hoists;

(i) jacks;

(j) ladders;

(k) portable lighting;

(l) electrical power supplies;

(m) hydraulic or pneumatic ground support equipment.

(2) CAR 573.08 requires the AMO Certificate holder to provide detailed information on the various locations where aircraft maintenance is to be performed. For the purpose of these standards, facilities shall include, as appropriate to the scope of work to be performed:

(a) lighted hangars;

(b) maintenance docks;

(c) workshops;

(d) clean rooms;

(e) storage; and

(f) other housing and support facilities to enable maintenance to be performed in clean conditions, protected from the elements.

(3) When the work is to be performed on the aircraft, all scheduled maintenance, including the rectification of defects whose repair has been deferred, shall be carried out in a hangar that is capable of completely enclosing the aircraft, where that work:

(a) is, in respect of a large aircraft, C, D or E checks, or any equivalent check scheduled at an interval greater than 12 months;

(b) except where otherwise specified by the manufacturer's maintenance manual for the aircraft type, involves the placing of the complete aircraft on jacks;

(c) requires the use of environmentally sensitive testing equipment, unless that equipment has been calibrated to take the environment into account; or

(d) involves the disassembly of components which would require lubrication upon re-assembly and could affect safety of the aircraft if exposed to contaminants such as dirt, water, sand, snow, etc.

Information Note:

Notwithstanding these standards, AMO Certificate holders are reminded that provincial standards and regulations, or where none exist the applicable national code, may specify minimum requirements applicable to lighting and other environmental factors in the work place.

(4) The facilities may be owned by the AMO, or be available through a lease agreement, provided the facilities are available on a "when needed" basis, or otherwise subject to pre-arranged periods of hangar availability.

(...)

THE FACTS

The whole issue involves the interpretation that each of the parties gives to certain documents submitted in evidence. Here is the list of comments that were raised.

  • The Applicant holds an AMO certificate since July 28, 1997 (Exhibit M-1) for which the base of operations was at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. However, at the beginning of September 1998, the Applicant moved its operations to the airport in Saint-Hubert, Quebec.
  • On October 19, 1998, Transport Canada asked the Applicant to submit a revised maintenance policy manual (MPM) because of the recent changes in its operations (Exhibit M-2).
  • On November 5, 1998, the Applicant sent in an "Application for Approval of a Maintenance Organization" (Exhibit M-3) in which the following modifications were indicated:

(a) Change of address
(b) Removal of the Cessna P-206 from the certificate

  • This seems to have been insufficient and, between the above-mentioned dates, several meetings and conversations took place between Transport Canada representatives and the Applicant, but Transport Canada remains unsatisfied:

(a) first, because the description of the facilities is not yet complete nor approved;
(b) and, because there is no lease agreement or proof of ownership for the use of the new facilities as required in subsection 573.08(4) of the Standards.

  • On December 3, 1998, Transport Canada suspended Excel Aviation Inc.'s AMO (M-4).
  • The Applicant submitted two documents to disprove what has just been set forth:

a) a letter from AVTECH addressed to Aéro 3000 signed by Mr. Pierre Labrosse (Exhibit T-1) in which Mr. Labrosse says "we agree to lease to you the necessary space for your operations."

However, the last paragraph of this letter mentions that "the details of this agreement...will be included in another document." However, this other document is not yet completed nor signed, which gives it no effect. This document must therefore be considered a letter of intent, and not a lease agreement.

Moreover, in the second paragraph, the signer of the document mentions the "right to work on your aeroplane (in the hangar)," in other words, on a single aeroplane. The AMO certificate does not restrict the number of planes of this type which Excel Aviation Inc. would be likely to work on; even if it has been said that there are only three such planes in all of Canada. Also, verbal agreements were allegedly entered into by both parties (details of which were not disclosed in the hearing).

b) the second document (Exhibit T-2) is a sublease from Aéro 3000 to Excel Aviation Inc. It must be noted that both companies have the same owner.

This is precisely what Transport Canada refuses to allow considering that the first letter is merely a letter of intent and does not constitute a lease agreement. The sublease therefore becomes null and void. In addition to which the AVTECH letter does not contain sufficient information to satisfy the regulatory requirements.

  • Finally, the Applicant pointed out that the specifics of the facilities required by Transport Canada are now included in its MPM and that in practice, no maintenance problem was encountered. A first modification was completed on October 1, 1998 (Exhibit M-7), and the draft of a new MPM was forwarded to Transport Canada on November 13, 1998.

Regulations applicable to the MPM can be found in subsection 573.10(1) of the CARs. It must be added that the requirements set out in the Standards are cumulative and must all be met.

However, Transport Canada has not finished evaluating the MPM in question and therefore cannot yet approve it.

Finally, in his testimony, the owner of AVTECH, Mr. Pierre Labrosse, indicated that he was no longer willing to lease part of his facilities to the Applicant.

The hearing also brought forth that communications between Transport Canada and the Applicant were not the best and that Mr. Noel, owner of Excel Aviation Inc., has complained about the lack of cooperation.

CONCLUSION

After having reviewed the documents submitted and having heard the witnesses of both parties, I have come to the conclusion that the Minister is correct in suspending the Applicant's AMO certificate; I can only encourage the parties involved to better communicate and cooperate. Given that this case does not involve a new certificate but a modification to an existing certificate, I would suggest that, if it is at all possible, a temporary certificate might be granted to Excel Aviation Inc.

DETERMINATION

I uphold the Minister's decision to suspend the Applicant's approved maintenance organization certificate, number 31-97, until such time as the Applicant meets the regulatory requirements.

Pierre Rivest
Member
Civil Aviation Tribunal