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Canadian flights won’t be affected by total solar eclipse, airlines say

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Canadian airlines say flight schedules will not be affected by Monday’s total solar eclipse, but they should protect their eyes during the astronomical event.

Air Canada says there will be no operational impact when the moon casts a shadow on the sun in parts of eastern Canada Monday afternoon, although it reminded staff not to look directly at the eclipse while it is occurring.

WestJet says it has taken unspecified safety precautions, and passengers hoping to catch a glimpse of the sun’s shadow through the window should bring their own protective gear to avoid eye damage.

Air Transat, for its part, will ask passengers to keep their blinds closed.

Transport Canada issued a notice Tuesday reminding industry stakeholders that there will be “a rapid onset of darkness and twilight conditions” that could affect pilots.

In an email, a spokesperson for the government agency says pilots who are not allowed to fly when conditions affect visibility could face restrictions during the eclipse – but Transport Canada says it is acts of a minority.

“Commercial pilots and above are trained to fly at night, and if it was dark enough in the path of totality and you were landing or taking off, it could be similar to a night takeoff or landing,” Mason said Fraser, who teaches at Seneca Polytechnic School of Aviation.

“But your private pilots aren’t always trained for night operations.”

He said pilots flying toward the sun during the eclipse will just need to take normal precautions to ensure they don’t inadvertently damage their eyes, such as lowering the sun visor.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 4, 2024.

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