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The Helicopter Association of Canada (HAC) has called upon the federal government to provide financial and administrative relief to help helicopter operators, OEMs and suppliers weather the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
In an open letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and three other cabinet ministers, HAC president Fred Jones said the association supported the government’s actions in attempting to limit the spread of the virus, but said that the current situation “has the potential to threaten the survival” of many of the association’s members.
In addition to “urgently needed” financial assistance to reduce the hardship the crisis presents, Jones called for the government to approve online training for pilots to help them avoid travel, and asked for the validity of pilot proficiency checks and recurrent testing to be extended.
“We urge you to implement a financial aid package for the air transportation industry, immediately,” Jones wrote.
The government has urged Canadians to “avoid all non-essential air travel,” and Jones said this has caused projects and all but essential operations in the helicopter industry to be cancelled.
Operators, he pointed out, would normally be preparing for the busy summer season, with crews getting ready for spring training and proficiency testing.
Having to do this preparation while conforming to self-isolation standards will be a particular challenge, said Jones