November 30, 2017
OTTAWA – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) supports the Canadian Transportation Agency’s (CTA) determination today that Air Transat did not meet its duty to passengers of two flights stranded on an Ottawa airport tarmac for up to six hours in July.
“The CTA’s findings confirm that there are occasions where airlines do not properly treat or care for their passengers, and that they will ultimately be held responsible, even if some circumstances are outside of their control,” said John Lawford, PIAC’s Executive Director and General Counsel. “We hope that the airline passenger bill of rights will deliver the clear, standardized rules Canadians need and which will apply to this and other air travel issues which regularly frustrate consumers,” Lawford continued.
The CTA has ordered Air Transat to reimburse all out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the stranded passengers and to incorporate its US tarmac delay contingency plan, which gives passengers the right to disembark after a four-hour delay, into its Canadian tariffs. Air Transat will also be fined $295,000.
“While the CTA’s decision sends a clear message on airline treatment of passengers during delays, we know that it cannot hold a hearing every time this happens,” said Lawford, “This is why an efficient, independent airline ombudsman and a clear, well-enforced set of air passenger rights that are plainly communicated to consumers from the get-go will be critical as more and more Canadians travel by air.”
PIAC will continue to advocate for the rapid creation of Canadian air passenger rights, including fair redress for passengers in certain circumstances, and the establishment of an independent ombuds organization in order to ensure that all air passenger grievances can be fairly and efficiently resolved.
For more information please contact:
Executive Director & General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
ONE Nicholas Street, Suite 1204
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
(613) 562-4002 x25
(613) 447-8125 (cell)