As of July 15, passengers can be compensated up to $2,400 if they are bumped from a flight and receive up to $2,100 for lost or damaged luggage. (Black Press Media files)

Legal challenge to air passenger rights bill should be dismissed: Attorney general

As of July 15, passengers can be compensated up to $2,400 if they are bumped from a flight

A legal challenge to Canada’s new passenger bill of rights from a group of airlines is “ill-founded” and should be dismissed, according to the country’s attorney general.

In a pair of court filings, lawyers for the federal government and the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) say the government will fight air carriers’ attempt to overturn rules that beef up compensation for travellers subjected to delayed flights and damaged luggage.

In a motion to the Federal Court of Appeal earlier this month, Air Canada and Porter Airlines Inc. along with 15 other airlines and two industry groups argued the new regulations exceed the agency’s authority and contravene the Montreal Convention, a multilateral treaty.

As of July 15, passengers can be compensated up to $2,400 if they are bumped from a flight and receive up to $2,100 for lost or damaged luggage. Compensation of up to $1,000 for delays and other payments for cancelled flights will take effect in December.

The issue came to the forefront after a 2017 incident in which two Montreal-bound Air Transat jets were diverted to Ottawa because of bad weather and held on the tarmac for up to six hours, leading some passengers to call 911 for rescue.

John McKenna, who heads the Air Transport Association of Canada — one of the applicants in the case — has called the new compensation grid “very high” and the new rules “outrageous,” claiming they will trigger higher air fares.

Passenger-rights advocates say the rules do not go far enough, arguing the criteria for monetary compensation are tough to meet as passengers would have to present evidence that is typically in the hands of an airline.

The rules impose no obligation on airlines to pay customers for delays or cancellations if they were caused by mechanical problems discovered in a preflight check – walking around the aircraft before takeoff looking for defects — rather than during scheduled maintenance, which involves more thorough inspections required after 100 hours cumulatively in the air.

AirHelp, a Berlin-based passenger-rights company, has said the number of issues categorized as outside an airline’s control amounts to a long list of ways to avoid compensating passengers.

Canada’s transportation regulator says it will argue the appeal should be dismissed should the court choose to hear it.

READ MORE: Airline passengers to get cash for lost baggage, getting bumped in new bill of rights

READ MORE: Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

RCMP urge caution for back to school drivers

Police are asking drivers to slow down and watch for pedestrians

Traffic accident on Highway 1

Hour long backup from Abbotsford to Langley

Chilliwack encouraged to commemorate liberation of Holland

Planning already underway to mark the 75th anniversary of the event

Speth to take oath of office at special school board meeting

Speth is the newest trustee to join Fraser Cascade school district

Sts’ailes invites adults to become engaged in Halq’eméylem with new video series

‘Qw’oqwel te Qw’oqwel’ gives language learners an immersive way to learn Halq’eméylem

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Memorial to deceased teen stays in place through Labour Day

Hundreds of tributes have been left at the Walnut Grove skate park

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

Most Read