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

Handgun pointing complaint draws strong RCMP presence at Chilliwack residence Wednesday night

One in custody after brief standoff involving Emergency Response Team and canine unit

Iconic Chilliwack store passes clothing racks on to downtown neighbours

Chilliwack Mission Thriftstore given racks and fixtures as downtown store closes for good

Exercise and cancer to be explored via webinar

UFV’s Dr. Iris Lesser to lead Zoom event for cancer patients and supporters

Overnight closures for Vedder dike gates this summer rather than full closure

Working with anti-dumping and angling advocates, City of Chilliwack came up with compromise

Fiscal statement from the feds lacked clear plan for economic recovery: MP Strahl

While Conservatives backed emergency supports, it’s now time for ‘transparent plan to guide recovery’

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read