Canadian airlines ask court to reject new passenger rights rules

As of July 15, passengers must be compensated up to $2,400 if denied flight due to overbooking

Passengers wait to check-in at Trudeau Airport on July 19, 2017 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Canadian airlines are among hundreds of carriers asking the Federal Court of Appeal to quash new rules that beef up compensation for passengers subjected to delayed flights and damaged luggage.

Air Canada and Porter Airlines Inc., along with 17 other applicants that include the International Air Transport Association — which has some 290 member airlines — state in a court filing that required payments under the country’s new air passenger bill of rights violate international standards and should be rendered invalid.

The court application argues the new provisions contravene the Montreal Convention, a multilateral treaty, in part by setting compensation amounts based on the length of the delay and “irrespective of the actual damage suffered.”

The application, filed last Friday, also says nullifying the regulations “would avoid the confusion to passengers” who could be subject to travel regimes from multiple jurisdictions on international flights.

Starting July 15, passengers will have to be compensated up to $2,400 if they are denied boarding because a flight was overbooked 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 due to 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, called the compensation grid “very high” and the new rules “outrageous.”

“They’re trying to meet international standards and do better, and I don’t see why. We’ve been complaining about that from the start, that this is going to drive up the price of flying in Canada,” he said from Portugal.

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.

Gabor Lukacs, founder of the group Air Passenger Rights, has said the regulations give airlines “carte blanche to refuse” compensation based on unverifiable maintenance issues.

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

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Coming up in Cowichan: Family fun at an arena near you; live Nativity and more

Free Christmas Family Skate at Kerry Park Sunday There will be a… Continue reading

Lake Flashback: December Madness hits the lake, Joe Allen named chair, golf club needs buyer

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

One month later, Cowichan fisherman still missing

Colin Court has been missing since Nov. 15 after disappearing while fishing near Youbou’s Shaw Creek

Mary Lowther column: Microgreens hit the spot for gardeners in winter

Vitamins like C, B and E increase by 10 to 20 per cent when seeds are sprouted

‘Not a decision I came to lightly:’ Scheer to resign as Conservative leader

Decision comes after weeks of Conservative infighting following the October election

‘British Columbians are paying too much’: Eby directs ICBC to delay rate application

Attorney General David Eby calls for delay in order to see how two reforms play out

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Couple who bought $120k banana duct-taped to wall say artwork will be ‘iconic’

Pair compared it to Warhol’s ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans,’ which was initially ‘met with mockery’

Race to replace Andrew Scheer could be a crowded one

Many familiar faces, such as Maxime Bernier, Jason Kenney, Doug Ford and Kevin O’Leary, have said no

UPDATE: University student dies, another injured in car crash in Nanaimo

Students part of Vancouver Island University’s automotive program

Owner surrenders dogs chained up outside among scrap metal, garbage to BC SPCA

Shepherd-breed dogs were living in ‘deplorable conditions.’

B.C. plane crash victim identified; witnesses describe ‘explosion’

He was a flight instructor, charter pilot and owned an airstrip before leaving Alberta

Most Read