Bachrach calls on minister to stand up to big airlines, overhaul passenger protections
OTTAWA - On Thursday, NDP Transport Critic Taylor Bachrach (Skeena—Bulkley Valley) called for a suite of changes to air passenger protections, including automatic compensation for travellers whose flights are delayed.
“When your fight is delayed, your compensation shouldn’t be,” said Bachrach. “The fact Canadians are having to wait over 18 months for their complaints to be heard shows the Liberal government’s current approach is deeply flawed."
“Right now, people who’ve already endured the stress caused by delays and cancelled flights have to jump through endless hoops to be compensated, and the airlines are making sure it can take months or even years. When airlines’ flight schedules get snarled, people miss weddings, funerals and vacations they’ve been saving up for. Some are left stranded. The difficulty of a delayed or cancelled flight shouldn’t be followed by the nightmare of fighting for compensation.”
Bachrach said the Liberals’ original design of its Air Passenger Protection Regulations left massive loopholes that allow airlines to avoid paying people. As a result, the Canadian Transportation Agency has a backlog of 33,000 complaints from people who say they’ve been treated unfairly by airlines when it comes to compensation — about a two-year wait.
The issues over the holidays are part of a larger pattern of the Liberal government refusing to stand up to the airlines on behalf of passengers,” added Bachrach. “Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra can provide direction to both the Canadian Transportation Agency and the airlines themselves, but despite all the disruptions over the course of two travel seasons, he hasn’t once used that power.”
“New Democrats are calling for real protections for passengers, which would align with the protections European passengers already enjoy. Those include automatic compensation for flight disruptions, closing loopholes that let airlines avoid reimbursing travellers, and tougher enforcement. We will keep fighting for Canadians until the Liberals, and the big airlines start to treat them with respect.”