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Charter agreement could be break for Toronto sports teams

A disagreement over charter flights that threatened the travel schedules of pro teams including the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors, is close to being  solved, says Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Air Canada and the U.S. have reached a tentative deal to allow the carrier to make its charter flights while both the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association are underway this season.

“We think we’re very close to resolving that,” Harper said to the Associated Press of the dispute. “I think we have some kind of a tentative agreement in principle and we’re working to finalize that in the next few days.”

Last week, Air Canada filed a lawsuit in U.S District Court in Washington hoping to prevent Transportation secretary Ray LaHood from following through on his department’s decision to have the carrier cancel its charter flights within U.S cities.

Air Canada said it has a permit with the U.S. in which it can fly from any two points in the country and any two in Canada or from one country to the other.

The carrier said there were no problems until the Air Transport Association, representing U.S. carriers, complained to the Transportation Department last year that the Canadian airline was breaking U.S. travel laws.

With files from Canadian Press