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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach council voices support for Ballenas track upgrade

Town still not ready to provide dollar amount without further information

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in a ditch in Coombs

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

RDN budget includes unexpected $1.5 million for sewer pipe replacement

Pipe corrosion at Departure Bay discovered in December

People tab ‘Roaring ’20s’ as theme for Parksville sand sculpting competition

‘Topsy Turvy’ and ‘Celebrate!’ also considered for 2020 beach festival event

Seniors often forgotten in mental health conversation

‘Empathy for Suicide’ event in Qualicum Beach on Feb. 24

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

Suspect at large after stealing seaplane before crashing into another in Vancouver

Police responded to the incident at 3:30 a.m. on Friday at Vancouver Harbour

Shopping cart collector at B.C. Costco awarded $583,000 after getting pinned by car

Kurtis Ryan Burdeniuk, 22, was retrieving carts when a driver backed into him in the parking lot

‘Usain Bolt he was not’: B.C. gang police seize drugs, cash after foot chase

‘The man took off running when he saw our officers approaching,’ CFSEU BC says

RCMP clarifies stance on removing officers from Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C.

Police say will remove officers only if hereditary chiefs keep road open to pipeline workers

Petition slams Victoria councillor who chastised police after Wetsuweten protest

Ben Isitt calls effort to get him suspended is not a ‘reliable barometer of public opinion’

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Most Read