Lukácssays the announcement of the fines is nothing more than “smoke and mirrors,” strategically timed to try to convince Canadians that the current government cares about passenger right before the federal election.
The rule that the airlines violated was one that states airlines must display a notice at the check-in desk, self-service kiosks and departure gate that passengers who are denied boarding or whose luggage is lost or damaged may be entitled to compensation.
The regulator says airlines failed to alert travellers to their rights ahead of several flights out of Halifax, Quebec City, Calgary and Edmonton between July 22 and Aug. 7.
New rules came into effect July 15 beefing up compensation for passengers whose flights were delayed or luggage damaged, which have been met with criticism from both the industry and consumer advocates.
Under the new rules, airlines will now have to provide compensation — up to a maximum of $2,400 — to anyone bumped from a flight. Changes also mean airlines will have to compensate passengers if their flight is severely delayed, if their luggage is lost, or if flights are overbooked, as long as the situation is within the company’s control.
Ryan Flanagan, CTVNews.ca Writer Thursday, September 5, 2019
Four major Canadian airlines have been fined for not complying with the new passenger protections that came into effect earlier this summer.
The Canadian Transportation Agency says Air Canada, WestJet, Porter Airlines and Air Transat have all been penalized since the rules changed on July 15.
In all cases, the airlines were found to have failed to display required notices to passengers. Airlines are required to display information about passenger rights at check-in counters, self-service check-in machines and boarding gates.
WestJet was fined $17,500 for seven violations, Air Canada was fined $12,500 for three, and Air Transat and Porter Airlines were each fined $7,500 for three violations apiece.
The new regulations hold airlines to a higher standard of treatment for passengers during tarmac delays, including requiring them to allow passengers to deplane if they have spent three hours waiting to take off and a take-off is not imminent. Airlines are also now required to have clear policies explaining how they handle luggage containing musical instruments.
The Canadian Transportation Agency has not taken any other disciplinary action against airlines since the new regulations came into effect.
Another round of passenger rights protections will take effect in December. At that point, airlines will be required to compensate passengers for any delays or cancellations within the airline’s control, as well as rebook or refund passengers whose flights are delayed – even if that means they have to buy them a ticket for a competing airline.
Air passenger advocates have argued that this will do little to help passengers. They note that a broad array of issues ranging from airport problems to medical emergencies to weather conditions can be cited for delays without the compensation requirement being triggered.
A spokesperson for Porter Airlines told CTVNews.ca that the company corrected the “minor communication issues” as soon as they were notified of the fines.
“Porter has dedicated significant resources to implementing the regulations on very short notice and we are making every effort to comply with the rules,” the spokesperson said.
A group of 17 airlines, including Air Canada and Porter, has filed a legal challenge against the regulations, arguing that the Canadian Transportation Authority does not have the power to implement them. The Federal Court of Appeal has agreed to hear the appeal.
02 August, 2019, FlightGlobal.com by Jon Hemmerdinger, Boston
Porter Airlines is replacing door seals on De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 turboprops following a rapid cabin decompression on 17 July, the Toronto-based airline says.
The cause of that decompression differs from a cargo door handle issue that has caused inflight depressurisations of several other Dash 8-400s recently, Porter adds.
The July depressurisation involved a Porter Q400 headed from Toronto to Boston. After the cabin lost altitude, the pilots descended to 10,000ft, determined the aircraft had no structural damage and continued to Boston, where they landed safely, according to an incident report from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.
An inspection determined the aircraft’s “aft baggage blowout panel was loose”, the report says.
“This situation related to an imperfection in the door seal, which caused the panel to move,” Porter tells FlightGlobal. “The system worked as intended to equalise pressure in different areas of the aircraft.”
Porter “has a proactive programme to replace door seals, although there is no required timeframe for doing so,” the airline adds. “The failure rate is extremely low.”
De Havilland says the incident’s “root cause was found to be a damaged aft cargo door seal, which would have been replaced.”
“We are supporting Porter to resolve these technical issues, recommending a pressure decay check and have suggested regular inspections of the door seals to ensure they are in good condition in order to minimise events such as these,” De Havilland adds.
Canadian aviation regulatory Transport Canada “is aware of the recent occurrence on a Porter Airlines Q400, and is working with the manufacturer to determine if an unsafe condition is present,” it tells FlightGlobal.
Porter says that Transport Canada has not issued directives related to the door seal issue.
Porter stresses the 17 July incident “is different” from a cargo door handle issue that has caused inflight depressurisations of at least three other Dash 8-400s, including two Porter and one WestJet Encore aircraft, in the last year.
Porter and WestJet have said they are making modifications to their fleets to address the cargo door handle issue.
BY Marcella Bernardo and The Canadian Press Posted July 5, 2019
Airlines are asking the Federal Court of Appeal to end new rules on passenger rights.
The Air Transport Association of Canada says they will drive up the cost of air flight.
But Air Passenger Rights, a passenger advocate group, says the new rules were created to benefit airline companies.
OTTAWA — Canadian airlines are among the hundreds of carriers asking the Federal Court of Appeal to quash new rules around passenger rights.
Air Canada and Porter Airlines Inc., along with some 290 member airlines of the International Air Transport Association, say in a court filing that required compensation for passengers dealing with delayed flights and damaged luggage violates international standards and should be rendered invalid.
The court application, filed last week, also says nullifying the new provisions would avoid confusion for international passengers who could be subject to travel regimes from multiple jurisdictions.
John McKenna, who heads the Air Transport Association of Canada, calls the new rules “ridiculous” and says they will drive up the cost of flying.
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 typically in the hands of an airline. Gabor Lukacs, founder of the group Air Passenger Rights, says the regulations give airlines “carte blanche to refuse” compensation based on unverifiable maintenance issues.
“These regulations were written for the airlines, by the airlines,” says Lukacs. “And it actually takes back rights of Canadian passengers.”
Lukacs points to changes tarmac delays. Under current standards, passengers can only be kept on an airplane sitting on a tarmac for up to 90 minutes.
.@GaborLukacs has been quick to dismiss legal action by #Canadian airlines including @AirCanada to quash new passenger compensation rules as nothing more than a ‘publicity’ stunt. Details coming @NEWS1130
Under the new regulations, he says passengers would have to wait over three-and-a-half hours before being let off an airplane.
“They are doing it as a publicity stunt,” he says. “We launched last week a legal challenge to some portions of the regulations that actually violated Charter because of how it affects persons with disabilities and of how it takes away rights of passengers contrary to Parliament intent. This is their fast knee-jerk reaction to that.”
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.
Under a new “passenger bill of rights,” airlines will be able to leave passengers stuck on the tarmac for longer than the current standard.
MONTREAL ― Canadian airports and airlines are some of the worst performers worldwide when it comes to flight delays, and new federal rules that allow passengers to be stuck on the tarmac for longer could make things worse.
All but one of Canada’s major airlines rank in the bottom half for on-time performance in a new survey from travel data provider OAG.
Canada’s best performer, WestJet, ranks 57th out of 125 airlines surveyed, with 77.1 per cent of all flights arriving on time. The country’s worst performer, Sunwing, ranks as the second-worst airline in the world, 124th out of 125, with only 57.8 per cent of flights on time.
Sunwing experienced numerous flight glitches in recent years, including major delays in Toronto and Montreal in April, 2018, that led to a fine from the Canadian Transportation Agency.
Looking at airports, Canada doesn’t fare much better. Our best airport, in Grande Prairie, Alta., ranks 108th out of 505 airports surveyed.
Toronto’s two commercial passenger airports, Pearson and Billy Bishop, rank as the two worst airports in Canada and among the worst in the world ― 475th and 489th, respectively.
Interestingly, there is a yawning east-west divide, with western Canadian airports performing better than others.
The survey comes as Canada is about to launch a new “passengers’ bill of rights” that some critics say will make it easier for airlines to delay flights.
Under the new regulations, airlines will be able to keep passengers stuck on the tarmac for up to three hours, plus an additional 45 minutes if the airline believes takeoff is imminent.
Currently, Canada has no government-enforced limits on tarmac delays, but airlines themselves had standards built into their tariffs. The industry standard was 90 minutes, which is also what a Senate committee recommended be the rule in the new passenger bill of rights. The government rejected that recommendation.
Additionally, it will be very difficult to get compensation from airlines in most cases where flights are delayed or passengers are denied boarding, said Gabor Lukacs, a prominent consumer advocate who has challenged airline practices in courts.
Watch: Here are the budget airlines in Canada. Story continues below.
Lukacs said he worries about the possibility of longer delays under the new rules because “when something becomes legal, they will do it. On the other hand, the counterargument is it’s in the airline’s best interest to get passengers to their destination as quickly as possible.”
Lukacs’ advocacy group, Air Passenger Rights, has accused the government of letting the airline industry dictate the new passengers’ bill of rights.
A spokesperson for Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the tarmac delay rule was decided “based on operational realities and international best practices. For example, in the United States, air carriers are required to offer the option to disembark after a three hour delay on domestic flights, and a four hour delay on international flights.”
While airlines frequently blame weather for flight delays, data from the U.S. federal government shows that extreme weather events are responsible for fewer than 5 per cent of flight delays in the U.S. The most common reason for delays was late-arriving aircraft, meaning flights delayed because earlier flights were delayed. This accounted for nearly 42 per cent of U.S. delays. Canada does not currently keep track of this type of data.
But Lukacs points out that Canada has much harsher weather than most of the U.S., so it may not be a fair comparison. And Toronto’s worst-in-the-country Billy Bishop Airport has unique issues to deal with because it’s on an island.
“This may be an apples to oranges comparison,” he told HuffPost Canada by phone.
Nonetheless, Canada’s poor weather doesn’t explain why Alaska Airlines has a higher on-time percentage than any Canadian airline (80.7 per cent) and is the third best among U.S. airlines.
Lukacs argues these on-time rankings are incomplete: There isn’t enough data to determine, for instance, whether it’s a particular airport or a particular airline that’s behind delays in a given place.
Either way, airlines should be taking bad weather into account when planning their schedules, Lukacs said.
“If airlines and airports ignore the weather realities, then you have guaranteed, built-in failure,” he said.
TORONTO, June 27, 2019 /CNW/ – Porter Airlines celebrated its first flight to Ontario’s ‘cottage country’ today with its inaugural flight to Muskoka, one of the world’s iconic summer retreats. Passengers enjoyed non-stop service from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to Muskoka Airport, and were met by local officials and residents on arrival.
“Porter has received strong interest in its seasonal Muskoka flights since we announced service in the spring,” said Robert Deluce, executive chairman of Porter Airlines. “Travellers value convenience and we are dedicated to making Muskoka more accessible, whether you’re taking the short flight from Toronto or connecting from one of our other destinations.”
With the introduction of Porter’s seasonal Muskoka flights, people looking to relax in a tranquil wilderness setting, can do so with a flight time of approximately 20 minutes. Operating twice weekly on Thursdays and Mondays, service continues until September 3.
“This new summer service between Toronto and Muskoka gives visitors easy access to some of the most incredible natural and cultural treasures Ontario has to offer,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “This is the kind of initiative that really helps grow Ontario’s economy and our tourism sector.”
Situated among pristine waters, and surrounded by scenic shorelines and vast forests, Muskoka is one of Ontario’s most sought-after vacation spots. In addition to stunning vistas, visitors can enjoy the region’s heritage communities and vibrant towns, offering excellent shopping, one-of-a-kind entertainment, events and an abundance of recreational activities. Muskoka’s charm and beauty offers a unique experience for families, groups, and couples looking to create long-lasting memories.
“The District and the Muskoka Airport Board are very excited for the arrival of scheduled service from Porter – making it easier for visitors and our residents to get to and from Muskoka and beyond this summer,” remarked District of Muskoka Chair John Klinck. “We look forward to working with our partners at Porter and RTO 12 to make this new service an experience as unforgettable as Muskoka is.”
Explorers’ Edge, the regional tourism organization, also launched its seasonal shuttle bus service, providing Porter passengers transportation from Muskoka Airport to accommodations across the region. The organization is also offering a traveller incentive of $100 in spending vouchers for those booking a flight and accommodation.
“Explorers’ Edge is excited to have partnered with Porter Airlines to introduce seasonal service to the Muskoka Airport,” said James Murphy, executive director of the regional tourism organization. “Muskoka and Algonquin Park are among the nation’s most popular vacation destinations, and this service will allow domestic and international tourists to have much easier access to a spectacular holiday here. We are very pleased to welcome the world via Porter’s extensive network.”
Flights are currently available for booking on Porter’s website and through travel agents. For complete schedule and booking details, visit www.flyporter.com.
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