Highlights of the new air passenger protection regulations

Highlights of the new air passenger protection regulations

New Air Passenger Protection Regulations

Just like the European Union with the CE261 regulation, Canada will also have his own regulation to protect air passengers. The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has announced highlights the new charter, which will come into effect in the summer of 2019.

Airlines will be required to pay passengers compensation for flight delays or cancellations of up to $ 1,000 and up to $ 2,400 for refusal of boarding.

Flight delays and cancellations

Definitions of Situations Within and Outside of the Airline’s control

  • Situations within airline control are any situations not covered by the two categories below. For example, they include commercial overbooking; scheduled maintenance of an aircraft that is necessary to comply with legal requirements; or mechanical malfunction of the aircraft identified during scheduled maintenance.
  • Situations within airline control but required for safety purposes are typically unforeseen events legally required to reduce risk to passengers, not including scheduled maintenance needed to comply with legal requirements. This category also includes a mechanical problem that reduces the safety of passengers, but not one identified during scheduled maintenance.
  • Situations outside airline control include: war or political instability; unlawful acts or sabotage; meteorological conditions or natural disasters that make the safe operation of the flight impossible; instructions from air traffic control; a Notice to Airmen (as defined in the Canadian Aviation Regulations); a security threat; airport operation issues; a medical emergency; a collision with a bird; labour disputes at an essential service provider such as an airport or an Air Navigation service provider; or a request from a police, security or customs official.

Airlines would be required to pay passengers compensation for flight delays or cancellations that are in their control and not related to safety. Passengers would be entitled to compensation based on the length of delay at arrival:

A passenger would have 120 days to make a compensation claim with the airline. The airline would have 30 days to respond by issuing a payment or indicating why it believes compensation is not owed.

Airlines would have to offer passengers this compensation in monetary form. They could also offer passengers alternative forms of compensation (e.g., vouchers or rebates), but passengers would always have the right to select what they prefer. As well, alternative forms of compensation offered would have to be of higher value than the monetary compensation that is required, and could never expire.

After a delay at departure of 2 hours, airlines would have to provide:

  • food and drink in reasonable quantities; and
  • electronic means of communication (e.g. free wifi).

Denied boarding

Any passenger who is denied boarding for a reason that is within the airline’s control and is not required for safety – for example, commercial overbooking or a change in aircraft due to scheduled maintenance – would be entitled to compensation. A passenger’s compensation would be based on length of delay at arrival.


Lost or damaged baggage

Under the Montreal Convention, an international air transport treaty to which Canada is a party, airlines can be held liable for baggage that is damaged or lost during international travel, up to approximately $2100. To provide better protection to passengers travelling within Canada, the regulations would apply this scheme to domestic travel as well.

In addition, the regulations would require airlines to reimburse passengers for any baggage fees paid if their baggage is damaged or lost.


Tarmac delays

The regulations would ensure that during tarmac delays whether they occur in Canada or abroad.

In addition, standards of treatment would have to include, at minimum, access to working lavatories, proper ventilation and heating or cooling, food and drink, and the ability to communicate with people outside the plane free of charge by the time the tarmac delay exceeds 3 hours.

As well, after a 3 hour tarmac delay at a Canadian airport, airlines would be required to return to the gate so that passengers can disembark.


Seating of children

Airlines would have to facilitate, at no extra cost and at the earliest opportunity, the seating of children under 14 years of age in close proximity to their parent, guardian or tutor. The proximity would depend on the age of the child:

  • Under the age of 5: in a seat adjacent to their parent, guardian or tutor.
  • Aged 5 to 11: in the same row and separated by no more than one seat from their parent, guardian or tutor.
  • Aged 12 or 13: separated by no more than one row from the parent, guardian or tutor.

 

Conclusion

At Yulair, we are happy that travelers can benefit from a charter that resembles the European Union. But there is a difference between the 2 charters because in Europe, airlines are required to provide specific compensation for delays and cancellations due to unforeseen maintenance problems outside regular maintenance, which is not the case with the Canadian regulations for security reasons says the CTA.

The CTA will consider all input received in developing the final regulations, which are expected to be published in Part II of the Canada Gazette in spring 2019.  It is expected that the final regulations will come into force in summer 2019. You can write to consultations@otc-cta.gc.ca and request that the exception for flight delays or cancellations due to unforeseen maintenance problems outside of scheduled be attributable like in the European Union.

Until this new charter comes into force, you still have compensation rights for flights to or from the European Union and some islands in the Caribbean thanks to the EC261 regulation. So, if you have had delays or cancellations of flights from or to the European Union member countries in the last 2 years, you can ask for compensation up to 600 Euros (925 $ CAD) if eligible, for more information here with our partner Airhelp.com.

 

Image credit: Pixabay

Info and screenshots: CTA

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