4 Canadian airlines hit with fines for violating new passenger protection regulations

Sep 5 2019, 6:50 am

A number of Canadian airlines have been slapped with nearly $50,000 in combined fines for violating the new passenger protection regulations that came into effect this summer.

Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat, and Porter have been accused of not posting the new passenger rights information at designated Canadian airport locations, according to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA).

The CTA issued its first set of fines on August 27, which amounted to $45,000 between the four airlines, following the first round of rules of the new federal Air Passenger Protection Regulations coming into effect on July 15.

According to the CTA, WestJet received the biggest penalty of $17,500 for seven infractions for the airline failing to post the passenger rights notice at airports in Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton, and Quebec City.

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Air Canada is facing a $12,500 fine for five infractions at the same airports, while both Air Transat and Porter face $7,500 in fines for three infractions each at two different Canadian airports in Calgary and Quebec City.

According to the Canadian government, under the new regulations, airlines operating flights to or from a Canadian airport must display a notice, in a visible manner, at the check-in desk, self-service kiosks, and boarding gate, informing passengers of their rights.

This includes if they’re denied boarding, or their luggage is lost or damaged, they may be entitled to compensation under the new regulations.

Inconvenienced travellers can receive up to $2,400 for being bumped for reasons within the airline’s control and up to $2,100 and a refund of any baggage fees for any lost or damaged bags.

A spokesperson for Porter confirmed to Daily Hive it had received notice of the fines related to “minor communication issues” and added, “they were corrected immediately upon receipt.”

“Porter has dedicated significant resources to implementing the regulations on very short notice and we are making every effort to comply with the rules,” said the spokesperson.

A spokesperson for Air Transat said the airline has made every effort to comply with the new regulations.

“Following an analysis of the case, we are of the opinion that the fine imposed by the CTA is not warranted, and intend to file an appeal with the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada, as provided for by law,” said the spokesperson.

WestJet’s Chief Operations Officer, Jeff Martin, said, “more than 4,400 WestJetters in all of our airports have been working to successfully implement all aspects of the new APPR regulations, including signage. These requirements came into force on July 15.”

“The challenges WestJet is facing, and currently working through, have been due to very short timelines coupled with the complexity of Canadian Airport operations, such our ability to comply on signage requirements at common-use kiosks and common-use departure gates,” said Martin. 

Martin added that the airline is working “diligently” through each individual airport community in order to ensure that WestJet can be compliant in common-use environments.

“WestJet will now undertake further meetings with our airport partners, the CTA and other stakeholders to work towards signage compliance as soon as possible.”

Daily Hive has also reached out to Air Canada for comment but had not heard back at the time of publication.