Air Canada pulls flight crews

From downtown over safety fears

By: Staff Writer
Posted: 10/1/2011 12:26 PM |
Air Canada is checking its flight crews out of downtown Winnipeg following a company assessment citing safety concerns in the area.
Pilots and flights crews are usually put up in the Radisson Hotel on Portage Avenue during layovers. However, Canada’s largest airline says they will now be using different accommodations closer to the airport.

“We are acting out of an abundance of caution after conducting a security assessment with both local law enforcement officials in Winnipeg and our own security people,” company spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said in an email statement.

Fitzpatrick didn’t go into details about the assessment, but said the move is on an interim basis. It’s unclear when and under what circumstances employees may return downtown, and whether a specific incident triggered the review.
A hotel spokesperson was not available for comment.

Winnipeg police say they have been in contact with Air Canada’s corporate security division to help conduct a safety assessment around Air Canada Centre near Portage Place, but not around the Radisson Hotel.

Stefano Grande, executive director of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, is surprised by the move.
An increased officer presence, along with new developments like restaurants and apartments, and the return of the Jets show there are growing numbers of people that are helping to make the area safer, he said.
“Frankly, you can’t really walk on Portage Avenue these days without bumping into a cadet or a police officer or one of our outreach officers,” he said.

“Down the road there are 15,000 NHL fans. None of them are saying they’re not coming downtown every week.”

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