Air Canada breaks silence on nearly $20 million loss
By Matthew Hillier, Staff Writer
This April, an Air Canada plane dropped off a shipping container weighing 880 pounds. Inside was a massive amount of gold and cash adding up to a total of over $17 million.
This gold belonged to a Swiss bank by the name of Raiffeisen Schweizbeing and was being transported by Brinks Security. Less than an hour later, the container was picked up after a waybill, the document that contains the details of the shipment, was presented to security personnel and then hauled off in a massive semi-truck.
The container and its gold never arrived at its destination, Toronto, and was never seen again.
This simple but very effective heist is now considered one of the largest heists in Canada’s history. On top of that, authorities have no idea how to recover the gold and thus far, no arrests have been made.
Air Canada has kept their lips sealed, not commenting on details about the heist, but they did state that they believe the gold was forged into bars. To make matters even worse, the gold and cash was not insured, meaning Switzerland won’t get their money back.
Details have been scarce, with both the airline and Brinks keeping a tight lid on the news. However, this changed when Brinks sued Air Canada for responsibility this month.
The lawsuit itself is for the total amount of missing gold and money. Usually in cases like this, Brinks would be held to international agreements on missing or stolen cargo, that being they can accept very little compensation (less than 1 per cent) for the loss.
However, since Brinks paid a flat fee for Air Canada’s AC Secure program to transport the gold, Brinks considers that this loss under the program requires the repayment of the total amount of lost property.
According to the National Post, one of the major issues behind the lawsuit is that Air Canada failed to provide “storing facilities equipped with effective vaults and cages, constant CCTV surveillance and active human surveillance patrols.”
Essentially, Brinks views the heist as a special case because of the lack of security, which they believe was inconsistent with the AC Secure program, and also because of the high price tag on the gold stolen.
In response to the heist, Air Canada has also pledged to “build an improved process” for their Secure program which includes “better technology enhancements, handovers and [an] improved tracing method.”
The heist has certainly become one of the most impactful heists in Canadian history. Its massive haul, and the fact that it was so easy to pull off it makes you think, “why didn’t I think of that?”
One thing is certain though, the heist came at a high cost in more ways than one. It will be some time before Brinks trusts a package to Air Canada again.