Reduce your 2021 taxes and support COPA

— By Jonathan Beauchesne, COPA Director for Quebec

The end of the year 2021 is already upon us. Any year that ends means that we must prepare our taxes to optimize them. We want to do our part for the community, but can we ensure that the deductions taken from our hard-earned income are allocated to causes we care about? If COPA’s mission is one of those causes, it is entirely possible to support it financially while reducing your tax liability. The best of both worlds!

Indeed, COPA has an entity that is recognized as a charitable organization, the Flight Safety Foundation (COPA-FSF). This entity contributes, for example, to the General Aviation Safety Program on which COPA works jointly with Transport Canada.
The most popular donation is a cash donation. Such a donation entitles you to a tax credit equivalent to about 50% of your donation, with a few percent depending on your income level and province of residence. That’s not bad at all!

Did you know that other forms of gifts are recognized by Canadian tax law? In the December 2020 COPA magazine, we mainly covered the donation of securities with unrealized gain and the donation of life insurance policies. We invite you to consult this article or to contact COPA if you wish to review the tax advantages surrounding this type of donation. This year, we will focus on other types of donations: the donation of shares of a private company (yours for example) and the donation of objects.

Donation of shares in a private company
It is possible to donate the shares you hold in a private company. This can be securities of your own company. The most common way is to freeze the value of the shares you wish to donate and then make the donation. The company then buys the stock back from the charity, such as COPA-FSF. You can also plan to donate your private company shares at the time of the sale of the company in order to include the donation in your transaction. You should indicate this to the buyer at the time of negotiation.

It should be noted that this type of donation will trigger a taxable capital gain for the donor, unlike the donation of shares in a public corporation, which does not. It should also be noted that the capital gain and the donation tax credit will generally be triggered when the shares are redeemed by the private corporation. This requirement generally satisfies the donee, as it provides an incentive to redeem the shares quickly. After all, the charity, such as COPA-FSF, wants to have funds to finance its activities, not to be a shareholder of a private company.

If the individual donor has tax attributes to use (e.g., tax losses, tax credit carryforwards), another strategy can be employed. Rather than donating the shares to the organization, the corporation can first buy back the shares from the donor, triggering a taxable dividend for the donor at the personal level. This taxable dividend allows the donor to use their tax attributes. Then, the following year, the donor makes the desired donation with the money received from the private company and benefits from the donation tax credit, to be used against other income. A simple way to optimize your personal tax situation while meeting your philanthropic objectives!

If you are not the sole shareholder, you should ensure that the gift of shares is authorized by the shareholders’ agreement, if applicable, and that the corporation has the necessary liquidity to repurchase the shares within a reasonable time.

Donation of objects
You can also donate objects such as personal property, depreciable property such as real estate, or works of art. Donations of certain types of cultural property are subject to specific rules, but provide access to additional tax incentives.

When donating objects, the CRA recommends using the services of a professional appraiser or valuator, or any person certified in the field of appraisal, if the fair market value of the donated property cannot be clearly and objectively established.
Immediate or deferred donation

It is important to note that the strategies described in this article can be applied during your lifetime and/or at your death. All you have to do is plan your taxes and your estate with the help of the professionals who are involved in your situation.

As you can see, you can give immediately and/or upon your death to COPA while reducing your tax liability. The association has all the tools in place to help you complete your gift easily. Contact COPA quickly to finalize your year-end taxes.

(Photo: Adobestock)

Aéroports de Montréal: “It’s not a business decision, it’s political”

― By Nicholas Richard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, L’Éveil (Photo: Yvan Leduc)

Aéroports de Montréal (ADM)’s administrative body has announced a dramatic price increase for French language flight schools based in Mirabel.

This decision threatens the very survival of these schools and calls into question the true intentions of our aviation sector leaders. For Mirabel’s Bloc Québecois MP, Jean-Denis Garon, this decision is unacceptable and must be reviewed without delay.

A large proportion of francophone pilots in Quebec and Canada are trained in Mirabel. However, even though Mirabel-based schools play a significant part in pilot training, ADM will now be charging them $65 per landing. Since landing is one of the most frequently practised manoeuvers in pilot training programs, the annual fees paid by these various schools to ADM is expected to jump from $540 to $38,000.

“ADM does not seem to care much about Mirabel. Their attention is constantly focused on Dorval, while Mirabel remains an afterthought. But with this decision, we just went from an afterthought to downright neglected. This is worse than what we’re used to,” complained Mr. Garon. The MP adds that the aviation sector has already suffered a lot during the pandemic, and this news adds insult to injury.

Potential school closures would not only prove catastrophic for the region, but would also close many doors for the next generation of francophone pilots. The Bloc MP explains that Mirabel schools have done colossal work with very few resources or acknowledgement from ADM. “We have flight schools that do amazing work and are renowned for it. They even attract students from abroad who come here to learn to fly in French. We’re talking about people who come here, settle in our community, spend their money, work and fly here.”

A Political Issue
Faced with a shortfall of hundreds of millions of dollars, ADM is looking for solutions to right the ship and French language schools have been chosen to foot the bill. For Mr. Garon, this is a serious political problem: “The Montreal Mirabel Airport has been mired in politics since day one. This issue has affected our economy, it has affected people’s lives, their families–the very evolution of our financial ecosystem.”

ADM CEO Philippe Rainville’s explanation for his organization’s decision has left the Mirabel MP unimpressed, to say the least. On one hand, Mr. Rainville claims that ADM is charging market prices. But Mr. Garon, an economist by trade, points out that the ADM is a crown corporation and that it should be tied to the market. Furthermore, the MP wonders why Mirabel-based, French language companies are treated like this while flight schools in Vancouver are only charged 20% of the market price, in recognition of their contribution to the economy, society and the community.

“ADM is a crown corporation and, given the Mirabel Airport’s history, Mr. Rainville should understand that this is an extremely political issue which has an impact on the citizens’ daily lives. I do not intend to let go of this.”

A Favourable Environment
For Mr. Garon, the situation is made all the more absurd by the fact that aviation is already well established in Mirabel. The government is proud to talk about big players like Airbus, Bombardier, and Bell Helicopter, but seem to be willing to let flight schools die. For him, this approach makes absolutely no sense.

“I would like Mr. Rainville to take a step back, to think about his decision and recognize that even if he’s not thrilled about having to manage the Mirabel Airport, he should be aware of his decisions’ consequences,” declared Mr. Garon. He also hopes ministers will step up and put pressure on ADM to do the right thing, lest the people of Mirabel once again get the short hand of the stick.

Canada’s largest winter aviation event this February

— By Ken Zachkewich, Director AB/NWT, Western Vice Chair (Photo: Ken Zachkewich)

Mark your calendars for February 26-27, 2022 for the largest, most exciting winter aviation event in Canada hosted in Lac La Biche, Alberta, by COPA Flight 165.

After a one-year hiatus, the Lac La Biche Winter Festival of Speed is back! Land your wheeled aircraft on a prepared 4000 x 100-foot runway, check out the Western Canadian car ice racing championships, snowmobile drag races, walk through a trapping exhibit, and more. COVID safety measures will be in place. Note: on-ice activity is at your own risk.

Check for details, updates and procedures.
Questions? Contact Oriana 780-213-4647 or Ken 780-623-0673

The Whitecourt Airport might host an air race event next year

— By Serena Lapointe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press

In a bid to introduce the Whitecourt Airport to pilots from all over, Woodlands County Council and the Airport Advisory Committee recently heard about two potential events for 2022/2023 that could bring a large contingent of pilots to CYZU (airport code). The first idea put forward is entirely out of the box and will likely get a lot of excitement from area residents.

Formula Air Racing is kind of like Nascar in the sky. Just like racing on the ground, planes are categorized based on engine capabilities and size. The STIHL National Championship Air Races have been taking place in Reno, Nevada, for over 50 years and are considered a legacy in the sport. Eight planes race side by side, wing tip to wing tip, and race around a designated circuit that is a few miles long.

The Formula 1 category features planes with the 100 hp Continental 0-200 engine, the same engine inside a Cessna 150. Many of the pilots who run in this category build their planes and reach around 250 mph. Formula 1 is the category being looked into for the Whitecourt Airport.

“Our Administration was approached to host Formula 1 Air Racing in July of 2022. This will be the first exposure in Canada, and their proposal is that the racing takes place in Whitecourt, followed by the following weekend in Grande Prairie. At this point, we don’t have additional information, but the first step is getting approval from the folks at our site,” explained Director of Infrastructure Andre Bachand. “We don’t foresee any significant costs to the County other than some staff time dealing with the event holders.”

Bachand said there were some differences between what takes place in Reno yearly and what would potentially occur in Whitecourt. One difference was that there would be four planes, rather than eight, racing at once. Aircraft would have a flying start and whiz around an oval sky track low enough to see pylons marking their trajectory. It would be quite a sight to see.

CYZU was identified as a prime candidate due to airspace availability and the centrally located location. The idea is to generate attention for the airport by bringing in an audience. Not only would the pilots be introduced to the area, but so would the crowds that would undoubtedly travel to the Whitecourt Airport to watch the action.

Though Canada hasn’t had exposure to Formula Air Racing within its borders, Canadian pilots attend events worldwide. One of note is Edmonton pilot Scott Holmes. He recently placed second in the 2021 Formular 1 Silver event in Reno, Nevada, reaching speeds of 168 miles per hour. A few years into his career, Holmes was named Rookie of the Year on the Formula 1 Air Racing tour in 2016. More information on whether the event will occur at the Whitecourt Airport next year will come early in 2022.

The second idea brought forward was the 2023 COPA National Fly In Event. “Administration identified that the 2023 COPA National Event is going to be in Western Canada. We are proposing that we submit a proposal to COPA, which is the Canadian Owners Pilots Association, once they put their request out, which is expected in January,” explained Bachand.

“The National Fly In involves anywhere from 150 to 200 planes on average coming into the area and is held over three to four days. There are pilots, their families, and manufacturers, similar to the RMA tradeshow on a smaller scale. An event of this size would be pretty significant for this area. It would be too big for the County to take on its own, so we would be recommending that we partner with the local COPA flight, Chamber of Commerce and Town of Whitecourt. We are in the process of preparing the proposal for COPA to consider,” he concluded.

Councillor Dave Kusch said he thought it would be great for the community. “It’s good publicity to get out there for Woodlands County, the Town of Whitecourt and Mayerthorpe and anyone around us.” Deputy Mayor Alan Deane queried Administration on liability for the race specifically. “One of the conditions for hosting the air racing is that we have to submit to NAF Canada. The event is covered by the air racing coordinator. It’s all under their insurance. One of the conditions would be that Woodlands County is conditionally named under their insurance,” explained Bachand.

Woodlands County Council approved the pursuit of both the 2022 Formula 1 Air Racing and the 2023 COPA National Fly In Event. The motion included sending a letter to three potential partners asking for their support and assistance in preparing the COPA proposal.

(Photo: Fireweedfour)

von Hoensbroech named CEO of WestJet Group

The WestJet Group on Dec. 17 announced Alexis von Hoensbroech will be appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the WestJet Group, with Harry Taylor expected to remain in the role of interim CEO through the company’s first quarter of 2022. The official start date for von Hoensbroech is subject to the timing of a successful immigration process, at which time Taylor will resume his position as Executive Vice-President Finance and Chief Financial Officer.

von Hoensbroech has served as CEO of Austrian Airlines since in 2018. Austrian Airlines is part of the Lufthansa Group and Austria’s largest airline, operating a network in central and eastern Europe, among what WestJet notes as being one of the world’s most competitive and lowest cost airline markets.

“Alexis understands WestJet’s low-cost roots and the importance of cost competitiveness in our vision for the future,” said Chris Burley, Chairman of WestJet’s board of directors, in a statement welcoming von Hoensbroech to WestJet’s team. “While at Austrian Airlines, Alexis refocused the airline on its core business, lowering its cost base to address rising competition from ultra-low-cost carriers. Alexis’ direct aviation operating experience builds on a career of airline consulting and research work.”

After obtaining a doctorate in physics, von Hoensbroech spent his early career at the management consultancy company, The Boston Consulting Group, in Munich and Tokyo, with clients primarily from the aviation industry. He joined the Lufthansa Group in 2005, responsible for the strategy and subsidiaries of Lufthansa airline. WestJet explains, from there he worked on various integration projects; becoming head of commercial at the airline’s biggest hub, before moving to Lufthansa Cargo AG. Most recently, as CEO and CFO of Austrian Airlines, he held management responsibilities for human resources, business development corporate communications, political and legal affairs and the CFO functions controlling, financing, accounting and sourcing.

“I am really excited to be joining the WestJet team,” said von Hoensbroech. “WestJet is a remarkable success story, bringing affordable air travel to millions of Canadians. I am very much looking forward to working with the management team, the Board and all WestJetters and Swoopsters to write the next chapter of this success story, as the airline emerges from the pandemic.”

Ombudsman releases report on Saugeen Municipal Airport

— By Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times

Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé has posted findings involving the Saugeen Municipal Airport Commission (SMAC) regarding public meetings.

In essence, the ombudsman determined that the COVID-19 pandemic may have resulted in different ways of holding meetings, but that did not free SMAC from responsibilities under the Ontario Municipal Act, 2001 regarding providing consistent public notice of meetings, including electronic meetings, providing a means for the public to observe meetings except in regard to certain matters set out in the legislation, and re-admitting the public following completion of in-camera portions of such meetings.

The ombudsman stated in the report, “I recognize that municipalities and local boards have faced unprecedented challenges in adopting their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, including many cases pivoting to conducting meetings electronically using new technologies. However, as my office has noted in previous closed meeting investigation reports, the requirement to hold meetings that are open to the public is not suspended in an emergency.”

Dubé recommended that SMAC adopt a procedural bylaw governing its meetings and providing for public notice of all meetings, and further, that the commission ensure the public is able to observe all open portions of meetings.

The complaint to the ombudsman alleged that SMAC contravened open meeting rules by “not providing consistent public notice of its electronic meetings including instructions on how to access the meetings … and that members of the public were unable to rejoin meetings after the commission rose from closed session.”

The ombudsman found that the commission is a “local board” and contravened the Municipal Act when it “held meetings without providing adequate public notice, and by failing to pass a procedural bylaw governing its meetings. The commission also contravened the Municipal Act when it failed to adequately notify members of the public about how to request readmission to the portion of an open meeting following a closed session.”

In the course of the investigation, the ombudsman’s office determined that the commission held a number of Zoom meetings for which no notice was provided to the public, and no instructions for the public to log in to access the meeting. The commission held a meeting on Jan. 13, 2021 that had been scheduled for Jan. 20, 2021, without providing notice of the change. Prior to COVID, SMAC had held in-person meetings the third Wednesday of each month; the public was able to attend and notices of the meetings were posted ahead of time.

The report stated “the chair (of the airport commission) explained that although the commission endeavoured to post notice of meetings on its website or on Facebook, this may not always have occurred as the commission lacked full-time staff support and commissioners were dealing with a number of urgent matters.”

The report further stated that the chair was unable to confirm if notice was provided for six meetings including two special meetings.

The ombudsman recognized that SMAC “did not intend to exclude the public” and commended it for its efforts to “increase transparency” through changes to its public notice process and adoption of a means to ensure members of the public can observe the open portions of a meeting that follow a closed session.

The ombudsman’s report indicated the office had received full co-operation during its investigation.

(Photo: Pauline Kerr)

De Havilland, ZeroAvia to develop hydrogen-electric engine program for Dash 8-400

Powertrain innovator ZeroAvia and aircraft maker De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a line-fit and retrofit program for De Havilland’s aircraft models, using hydrogen-electric propulsion in both new and in-service aircraft.

As part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), De Havilland will be issued options to purchase 50 ZeroAvia hydrogen-electric engines. These options will be confirmed once a definitive agreement has been completed between the two companies.

They intend to work together on a service bulletin for the Dash 8-400 type certificate offering ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric engine as a line-fit option for new aircraft, as well as developing an OEM-approved retrofit program for in-service aircraft.

The new program will target the use of ZeroAvia’s 2MW+ powertrain (ZA2000) for Dash 8-400 aircraft, which is one of the world’s most popular turboprops with more than 625 delivered to customers. The global fleet of Dash 8-400 aircraft has logged more than 11 million flight hours and transported more than 550 million passengers.

As part of the program, ZeroAvia will develop a flight demonstrator, with De Havilland’s support, using a Dash 8-400 aircraft to aid certification and showcase the operational and commercial potential of the engine. De Havilland explains the intention is to identify a suitable existing route utilizing the aircraft with a goal for entry into service within the next five years.

ZeroAvia and De Havilland Canada intend to jointly market aircraft powered by the hydrogen-electric engines to operators with power-by-the-hour (PBH) support.

“De Havilland Canada has a strong belief in hydrogen-electric technology as a viable solution for de-carbonizing aviation,” said Dave Riggs, Chief Transformation Officer, De Havilland Canada. “We are extremely pleased to be collaborating with ZeroAvia in developing climate-friendly propulsion as an option for our customers around the globe.”

In October 2021, ZeroAvia announced a development collaboration with Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines, for a hydrogen-electric powertrain capable of flying 76-seat regional aircraft in excess of 500 nautical miles, starting with initial deployment into a full-size Dash 8-400 aircraft.

ZeroAvia expects to fly a 19-seat aircraft using its ZA600 powertrain in the coming weeks in a hybrid configuration (one conventional engine, one hydrogen-electric) before flying the same aircraft using only hydrogen-electric engines in 2022 and building to certification by 2024.

On its ZA2000 program, ZeroAvia aims to have full thrust ground demonstrations of its 1.8MW engine variant by the end of 2022. From there, the company plans certification of its ZA2000 powertrain to support 40-80 seat aircraft with a potential range in excess of 700 nautical miles – about the distance from Toronto to Atlanta – by 2026, and eventually extending into aircraft up to 90 seats by 2027.

“De Havilland Canada have made significant strides on emission reductions and shown a big commitment to greener aviation, and the next step is to go to true zero-emission using hydrogen-electric engines,” said Val Miftakhov, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, ZeroAvia. “Partnering with De Havilland Canada puts ZeroAvia on a defined pathway to line-fitting into new airframes and signals OEM appetite to make the switch to certified, zero-emission propulsion as soon as possible.”

(Photo: De Havilland Aircraft of Canada)

Gooch to depart Canadian Airports Council

Daniel-Robert Gooch is leaving his position as President of the Canadian Airports Council, where he has served for the past 16 years, to join another Ottawa-based, non-aviation-related trade association. His last day with the organization will be January 31, 2022.

Canadian Airports Council (CAC) is the domestic arm of Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), a trade association representing commercial service airports in the United States and Canada.

“For the last 16 years, Daniel has been a valued and respected member of the ACI-NA team,” said Kevin Burke, President and CEO, ACI-NA. “I have relied on his counsel during my time as President and CEO of ACI-NA as we have worked collaboratively to further enhance the value ACI-NA provides our Canadian members. Daniel has played an essential role in strengthening the Canadian airport industry and amplifying the industry’s voice in Ottawa as a proven and effective advocate.”

As CAC President, Gooch oversaw operations of ACI-NA’s Canadian division, led Canadian government affairs and communications, and coordinated policy, legislative, and regulatory efforts to effectively advance the airport industry within Canada.

Before being named President of the CAC, Mr. Gooch previously served as the CAC’s director of communications and policy.

(Photo: Canadian Airports Council)

AOPA, aviation groups call on FAA to mitigate 100LL ban in Santa Clara

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and several other industry groups urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to take action regarding Santa Clara County’s rushed decision to ban the sale of 100LL as of January 1, 2022.

In a joint letter to FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson, the organizations called on the FAA to use its “aviation safety mandate to prohibit individual airports from interrupting the availability of 100LL and stifling the cooperative industry-government effort to safely transition the entire general aviation fleet to unleaded fuels. It is vital to public safety to mitigate [misfuelling] risks for pilots and passengers, and for the people and property on the ground during this transition.”

AOPA explains the FAA was reminded that engine failures from misfuellings often occur at critical phases of flight, such as on takeoff and climb out, and NTSB accident reports document the grim outcomes.

The letter pointed out, explains AOPA, that there are already misfuelling risks where visually similar airframes require different types of fuel (e.g. Cessna 421 and Cessna 441), and some popular piston aircraft models (e.g. Beechcraft Bonanzas) are fleets in which some aircraft have engines that can use unleaded fuel and other aircraft do not.

AOPA also notes piston aircraft with high-compression engines consume 75 per cent of the 100LL sold in the U.S.; many of these engines are not approved to use unleaded fuels currently available in the marketplace. Those that are approved to use a lower-octane unleaded formulation must still obtain a supplemental type certificate to legally use the fuel, explains AOPA, which can create a dilemma and risk to pilots who land at an airport at which only a lower-octane fuel is available than what they require to safely fly.

“Yes, we all want leaded fuel out of general aviation, but the answer needs to be as safe as it is fast, not with willful disregard for safety,” said Mark Baker, President, AOPA. “Charging toward an arbitrary date with little to no consideration for safety poses a great and unnecessary risk to general aviation pilots and local communities. Let’s get this done together—but smartly.”

The letter was signed by leaders of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, National Business Aviation Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, National Air Transportation Association, and Helicopter Association International.

(Photo: Adobestock)