NEWS

New collision alert systems proposed for small planes

12/20/2011 12:18 EST | Updated 02/19/2012 05:12 EST

Transport Canada has proposed new airplane safety equipment rules that would require aircraft with six or more passenger seats to install Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems.

The systems provide visual and sound alerts to flight crews when the aircraft is at risk of colliding with terrain, water or obstacles, allowing the crew time to take evasive action.

Use of such systems is recommended by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. According to Transport Canada, the majority of Canadian passenger airlines that fly internationally have already equipped their fleets.

The new regulations would supersede the current requirement for a Ground Proximity Warning System, as a TAWS provides much earlier warning of an impending collision and provides these warnings under conditions GPWS cannot.

Some members of the Northern airline community are worried about the cost.

“How necessary is it on the smaller aircrafts? I don't know. But it certainly adds an additional cost component,” said Stephen Nourse with the Northern Air Transportation Association.

Brian Harrold, operations manager at Northwestern Air Lease, said he thinks the equipment cost could affect ticket prices.

“So yes, we will see some financial cost associated with it that will have to be passed on to the customer, however it does enhance the safety of the operation quite a bit.”

Harrold said customers might see tickets increase by only a couple of dollars.

If the proposed regulations go through, companies will have two years to install the systems.

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