Porter Airlines says safety rebuke due to manual

A Porter Airlines Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft is seen in Toronto February 23, 2009. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

(Reuters) - Porter Airlines said on Tuesday that no imminent safety issues were involved in an incident some four years ago when it received a warning from Transport Canada inspectors charged with implementing new air safety rules.

Rather, the incident involved a previously approved maintenance manual that the small, regional airline was required to bring more into line with the federal body’s newly minted safety management system (SMS), Porter Chief Executive Robert Deluce said.

The issue arose “in the early stages of our development, at a time when we were struggling to understand the implication of SMS. Today SMS is much better understood,” Deluce told Reuters.

He said Porter was the first scheduled airline in Canada required to be fully SMS-compliant as its launch coincided with the unveiling of the new rules. Much bigger rivals, Air Canada ACb.TO and WestJet Airlines WJA.TO, were given two to three years to phase in the rules, he said.

Postmedia group, which owns the National Post newspaper, reported on Monday that Porter had in the past faced the threat of being grounded for failing to comply with Transport Canada’s air safety rules. It did not give details of what the issue involved had been or when it had occurred.

Closely held Porter, which was launched nearly five years ago, flies to short-haul destinations in Eastern Canada and the United States from the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which is located just minutes from the city’s center.

Reporting by Nicole Mordant; editing by Rob Wilson