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The head offices of Aveos Fleet Performance Inc. and Air Canada Inc. are seen in Montreal March 19, 2012.CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/Reuters

Air Canada has lost its appeal of a 2013 Quebec court ruling that found it contravened federal law by not keeping heavy-maintenance operations in Canada.

The Quebec Court of Appeal has upheld the lower court ruling that the carrier violated the Air Canada Public Participation Act when it gave an American company a five-year contract to maintain its airplanes at a U.S. facility.

The work had previously been done in Montreal, Winnipeg and Mississauga, Ont., by Aveos Fleet Performance.

Aveos closed in 2012 after filing for bankruptcy protection following what it said was a decline in business from Montreal-based Air Canada.

The Quebec Liberal government of the day filed a lawsuit against Air Canada in April, 2013, arguing the carrier was obliged by the 1988 act to keep aircraft overhaul operations in Canada.

Air Canada said it met the requirements of the act because it still had some maintenance functions in the three Canadian cities.

"More than 2,500 of our members lost their jobs over this, and we promised them we would never give up this fight and we welcome this decision," said Dave Ritchie, the vice-president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Canada.

Air Canada spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur said the company is studying the ruling and won't be commenting for now.

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