OTTAWA – After two years of not being able to travel or see loved ones, Canadians are extremely frustrated by the months of flight delays and cancellations. Today, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra appeared before committee to explain to people why the Liberals haven’t fixed the delays. NDP Transport Critic Taylor Bachrach (Skeena–Bulkley Valley) called on the Liberal government to protect passengers and stand up to big airlines.
“For months, Canadians have been facing unacceptable airport delays and even having their flights cancelled because the Liberals failed to prepare for the predictable return of travel,” said Bachrach. “To make matters worse, we’re learning airlines have been refusing to compensate passengers when flights are delayed or cancelled. It is completely ridiculous that people who’ve patiently waited to travel are now paying the price because of the Liberals’ failure to stand up for them.”
Airlines continue to cite crew shortages to avoid providing compensation for cancelled flights under the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR), which is meant to protect passengers. On July 8th, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) ruled that crew shortages are not a sufficient reason to avoid giving compensation for cancelled flights.
“The Liberals promised Canadians the APPR would protect them, but then they’ve stood by and allowed the airlines to make a mockery of the rules,” said Bachrach. “It makes a lot of people wonder whose side the government is on.”
“To add insult to injury, the huge backlog of complaints at the CTA means it can take months for Canadians to get an issue heard,” added Bachrach. “It’s unfair and unacceptable.”
The NDP is calling on the Liberal government, through the CTA, to take a more proactive role in enforcing passenger protections. They need to ensure that passengers who faced delays and cancellations are properly compensated without excuses from airlines, provide resources to deal with the backlog of complaints to get processing times down to the CTA’s stated 20-day service standard, increase the maximum fine the CTA can issue to airlines beyond the outdated cap from 1996 and issue fines in cases of repeated non-compliance.
“It’s time for the government to get serious about protecting air passengers from the appalling treatment they’ve experienced in recent months. New Democrats know that the CTA should be a watchdog for Canadians, not a lapdog for the big airlines.”