Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

From Toronto City News – link to source story

BY THE CANADIAN PRESS | JUN 16, 2021

OTTAWA — The House of Commons transportation committee says the federal government should refund ticket holders for flights cancelled due to COVID-19 and further strengthen passenger rights, as well as extending wage and rent relief programs for the beleaguered aviation sector, in in a report tabled Thursday.

The Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities spoke to 60 witnesses and eight industry stakeholders while studying the impact of the pandemic on air travel.

The report says the government should require airlines to immediately refund passengers for flights they couldn’t take due to the pandemic, and further recognize that the right to a refund for cancelled flights exists beyond existing guidelines.

The committee also said the government should extend the federal wage subsidy for the air sector and rent relief for large and medium sized airports.

The report says the airline industry’s recovery from the pandemic will take longer than the current program expiry dates, even after mass vaccinations continue.

The committee called on Transport Canada to draft a report about lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic to serve as reference for any future emergencies.

“There is no doubt that the air transport sector is critical to Canada’s economic recovery and to the connectivity of the entire country,” stated Vance Badawey, chair of the committee and Liberal MP, in a statement.

He said the committee’s recommendations are “aimed at maintaining the sector’s competitiveness, protecting jobs and ensuring the health and safety of workers, passengers and the Canadian public.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 16, 2021.