A Skyjet flight heading to Quebec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport was struck by a drone on Oct. 12, according to Minister of Transport Marc Garneau.
Emergency measures were immediately put in place and the plane was able to land safely. No injuries were reported.
“This should not have happened,” Garneau told reporters Sunday. “The drone should not have been there.”
“It is important to point out aircraft are particularly vulnerable when they are coming in [for landing] … and during take-off,” he added.
Garneau issued a written statement earlier Sunday in which he said the incident was the first time a drone has hit a commercial aircraft in Canada.
“I am extremely relieved that the aircraft only sustained minor damage and was able to land safely," he added.
Transport Canada advises that drones should be flown below 90 metres and at least 5.5 kilometres away from any airport, seaplane base or areas where aircraft take-off and land.
Thursday’s collision reportedly happened about three kilometres from the airport at an altitude of 450 metres.
“Transport Canada is monitoring the situation and is in contact with its transportation partners including Skyjet, the Jean Lesage International Airport and NAV CANADA. My department is in contact with the Service de police de la Ville de Québec and we will cooperate with the Transportation Safety Board should they decide to investigate,” Garneau said.
Garneau introduced interim safety measures regarding drone flights earlier this year, which restrict where recreational drones can be flown. Final regulations regarding drone usage will be in place in 2018, says Garneau.
“I would like to remind drone operators that endangering the safety of an aircraft is extremely dangerous and a serious offence,” he said.
Penalties for violating these safety measures include fines of up to $25,000 and possible jail time.
Anyone who wishes to operate a drone is required to follow the Canadian Aviation Regulations.
There have been 1,596 drone incidents reported in 2017, of which 131 were deemed an “aviation safety concern,” Garneau said in the statement.