Ontario Civil

Air Law

Authorities entitled to seize and detain aircraft to recover amounts owed

This was appeal from application judge’s decision granting seizure and detention orders. Corporation collapsed in March 2010 and left $1.5 million in unpaid airport charges and air navigation services. Respondent authorities provided those services. Appellant lessors owned aircraft. Receivership order was granted. Corporation’s air operator certificate and aircraft maintenance organization licenses were suspended. Respondents GTAA and ONC sought order under s. 9 of Airport Transfer (Miscellaneous Matters) Act (Can.) (“ATMMA”), and respondent NAV sought order requested similar relief pursuant to s. 56 of Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization Act (Can.) (“CANSCA”), for aircraft seizure and detention order. Application judge granted applications and found that respondents were entitled to seize and detain aircraft to recover amounts owed to them by corporation without regard to property interests of appellants. Appeal dismissed. Respondents established that corporation owed GTAA and ONC amounts related to use of airport it operated for purposes of s. 9 of ATMMA and that corporation owed NAV charges related to air navigation services for purposes of s. 56 of CANSCA. Respondents established that corporation owned or operated aircraft subject to seizure and detention order. Authorities were entitled to seize and detain aircraft to recover amounts owed to them by collapsed airlines without regard to property interests of aircraft owners. Lessors did not fall within exception, as they had not completed repossession. Suspension of air operator certificate or aircraft maintenance organization licenses did not affect airline’s status as “registered owner” of aircraft. Termination of corporation’s air operator certificate was not relevant to status as “operator”. Statutory requirements for detention remedy were satisfied.

Skyservice Airlines Inc.

(Re) (May 2, 2012, Ont. C.A., O’Connor A.C.J.O., Cunningham A.C.J.S.C. (ad hoc) and LaForme J.A., File No. C53721) Decision at 202 A.C.W.S. (3d) 232 was affirmed. 214 A.C.W.S. (3d) 665 (40 pp.).

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