On the day that Ottawa’s updated Regulations Amending the Air Passenger Protection Regulations took effect, Canada’s airlines - who oppose the new protections - say the new rules will drive up the cost of air travel.
As Open Jaw has reported, under the terms of the updated regulations which took effect 08SEP, airlines now have to provide compensation even if weather or labour shortages are the cause of flight delays or cancellations. Formerly, carriers were not held responsible if the causes were outside of their control.
While, according to Ottawa, airlines were consulted during the formulation of the new rules, they’ve said they are “unfair.”
Jeff Morrison, the president of the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC), which represents Canada’s largest carriers including Air Canada and WestJet, said prior to the debut of the updated regulations that the new rules put all the responsibility on the airlines when other entities, like security screeners, customs, or airport operations are at least partly to blame for flight delays and cancellations.
And on 08SEP, he said it could end up costing consumers more if the airlines have to bear the full brunt of the impact of the new rules.
"Those additional costs will have to come from somewhere," he pointed out, although the industry has not released any estimates of what the new regulations may cost airlines.
Canada’s carriers have asked the federal government to institute service standards for other entities they say should also bear responsibility for flight delays and cancellations, including security and border screening and airport operations.
NACC has asked Ottawa to delay the enforcement of the new passenger protection rules until “all pandemic-related restrictions that have exacerbated congestion are removed,” according to Reuters.
And, while Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra insisted in JUN when announcing the updated regulations that they “were developed in a manner that is fair and reasonable to passengers, with the goal of not imposing an undue financial burden on air carriers that could result in higher travel costs,” Ottawa may since have softened its position.
According to the report, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Transport says the government is “open to working with” the industry to “improve” the new regulations.