Transport Canada approves Jays' plans
TORONTO -- Transport Canada has approved the Blue Jays' travel plans for the final two road trips of the season after the team changed the destination of one flight to comply with newly enforced rules concerning charter airlines.
"We're fine," team travel manager Mike Shaw said Wednesday. "All good for the rest of the season."
Years of exemptions for sports teams ended in August when the United States Department of Transportation stepped up enforcement of a rule that prohibits foreign charter carriers from making domestic flights between American cities. Canada responded by enforcing the rule on its side of the border.
The Blue Jays begin a four-game series in Detroit on Friday and had intended to fly to Windsor, Ontario, before crossing the border by bus.
The Blue Jays fly with Miami Air International, a Florida company that also provides charter service to five U.S.-based NHL teams, including the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
Unable to use an American carrier for a domestic flight in Canada, the Blue Jays changed their destination to Detroit and were granted approval.
The dispute also could disrupt the coming NHL season. Teams will have difficulty playing back-to-back games in the U.S. or Canada and could be forced to return to their home country between each game.
For instance, the Calgary Flames have used Air Canada's charter services in past years for back-to-back road games within the United States, but would not be permitted to do so this season. Teams may have to find a second carrier, at added expense.
The NBA's Toronto Raptors also are affected. Richard Peddie, chief executive of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Raptors and the Toronto Maple Leafs, said last week that the rules "represent a potentially big problem for our teams."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press