Cameco switches from using West Wind Aviation to subsidiary Transwest Air

An aerial view of the Key Lake Cameco mine in northern Saskatchewan. File Photo

Cameco is no longer flying its staff through West Wind Aviation, after one of the company’s planes crashed near Fond-du-Lac, Sask., in December.

Gord Struthers, a spokesperson for the uranium mining company, said they will now fly its employees through Transwest Air.

READ MORE: Man injured in northern Saskatchewan plane crash dies in hospital

“We have been using other carriers since West Wind was grounded initially in late December and as a result of this most recent development, all of the chartering and sub-chartering of Cameco flights will be moved from West Wind to Transwest,” Struthers said.

“All the legal agreements between the alternative carriers are now between Transwest. Also Transwest is looking after all the scheduling and passenger flight information.”

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West Wind was grounded both voluntarily and then by Transport Canada in December.

Left side view of the front of the ATR-42 that crashed just after taking off from the Fond du Lac airport in northern Saskatchewan on Dec. 13, 2017. Transportation Safety Board of Canada / Supplied

The Saskatoon-based mining company has chartered all of its flights through West Wind since 2006. The regular commuter service to mine sites is described as several flights a week.

Transwest is a wholly-owned subsidiary of West Wind Aviation.

“What’s changed here is it’s really just a different entity that’s doing the chartering and the scheduling of the flights,” Struthers said.

“They have separate licensing and that’s what allows them to do this.”

READ MORE: Transport Canada suspends airline’s licence after northern Saskatchewan plane crash

Struthers said the move to Transwest is temporary, while West Wind is able to satisfy Transport Canada and everything is in order.

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“(Transwest) have been audited by us in each of the past two years to ensure that they meet our standards as well as the federal regulatory standards,” Struthers said.

“The safety of passengers on our air commuter services is our first priority, in addition to using only carriers approved by Transport Canada, we have our own standards, which are applied to all the carriers that we use, no exceptions.

“That those standards require a higher level of equipment on the aircraft such as GPS, navigation systems, higher standards from pilot training… so really in addition to the normal requirements, we take additional steps to ensure the safety of people travelling to and from our mines.”

Cameco’s air commuter service goes to four mine sites in northern Saskatchewan, which include McArthur River, Key Lake, Cigar Lake and Rabbit Lake.

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