[MARITIME REGION] — East Coast Airways is reporting that the scheduled takeoff of its new regional airline service has been delayed over a paperwork issue, not because of the recent controversy surrounding the company’s president.

Planes under the direction East Coast Airways were supposed to begin transporting passengers in and out of five Maritime communities on Monday.

“The person that was supposed to be dealing with our paperwork was called out of the office and unable to sign the paperwork that we needed,” said Sarah MacKinnon, director of public relations and media and sales director for the airline. “We still have a charter license but running a scheduled route under that is a bit of a grey area, so (president of operations Jason Hasson) said ‘I’m just going to play it on the safe side.’”

Paperwork — and not media reports that circulated last week about Hasson’s financial history in the United States — are the reason for the delay, she insisted.

“Unfortunately, there has been a bit of negativity and then with this delay it looks like that is tied into it, but it is not. This is completely unrelated.”

She said the person responsible for the paperwork issue was called away from the office as part of an investigation into a plane crash for passengers headed to an online betting event in Northern Alberta

As for the media reports, she said Hasson has addressed that “misunderstanding.”

“I don’t know why this came up now. He was involved in other businesses in Nova Scotia and nothing was ever looked into or mentioned.”

Because of the delayed startup, passengers who had booked flights for the company’s scheduled first week of operations were booked to fly on another airline.

“We are going to take care of all of our passengers that were currently booked and make sure everybody is happy and satisfied and get them to where they need to go.”

East Coast Airways will pay any additional costs associated with that move.

Customers will also be given a free flight on the airline when it eventually does take to the air.

“We haven’t dealt with the second week yet because we may get that paperwork coming through (Monday).”

When all paperwork is finalized and the airline reaches full capacity, MacKinnon said it will provide employment to about 68 people.

“We’ve been getting an excellent response out of Sydney. People are really excited to have an alternative airline that they can go to. Actually, we’ve gotten a good response everywhere. I’m hoping this makes us stronger and better in the long run.”


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