Canada's aviation safety agency is urging regulators to address icing-related risks that may have contributed to the deadly crash of an ATR turboprop in northern Canada one year ago.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB), which investigates aviation accidents, has recommended regulator Transport Canada "take urgent action to ensure" that Canadian airports have adequate deicing equipment.
The agency also recommends Transport Canada take steps to ensure airlines adhere to existing icing-related regulations, the TSB says on 14 December.
"The board recommends that the Department of Transport collaborate with air operators and airport authorities to identify locations where there is inadequate deicing and anti-icing equipment, and take urgent action to ensure that the proper equipment is available," the TSB says.
Canada's transport minister Marc Garneau responded by ordering Transport Canada to "look at the deicing situation on an urgent basis", he says in a statement.
"At my direction, Transport Canada is conducting a thorough review of the two recommendations made today and will provide a formal response to the board within the required 90-day period," Garneau adds.
The TSB's recommendations come amid its investigation into the 13 December 2017 crash of West Wind Aviation flight 282, an ATR 42-300 that went down shortly after takeoff from Fond-du-Lac in northern Saskatchewan.
The aircraft flew through icing conditions as it descended to land in Fond-du-Lac before the accident, but was not deiced prior to taking off.
The aircraft collided with trees less not far from the end of the runway, killing one passenger and injuring the other 24 people aboard, investigators have said.
"It was determined that the crew took off from Fond-du-Lac with ice contamination on the aircraft's critical surfaces. The operator had some deicing equipment in the terminal building, but it was not adequate for de-icing an ATR-42," says the TSB on 14 December.
As part of the investigation, which remains open, the TSB sent icing-related questionnaires to 83 airlines that fly from remote northern airports.
Some 650 responses revealed the pilots "frequently take off with contaminated" aircraft surfaces and that many remote airports lack adequate deicing equipment.
"Taking off with contamination on critical surfaces is a deviation that has become normalised," the TSB says.
Following the 2017 crash, Transport Canada suspended West Wind's operator certificate. The agency reinstated the certificate in May after determining the airline could comply with aviation regulations, the TSB says.