Air Transat must pay $295,000 fine to the CTA

Air Transat Airbus 310

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) found that Air Transat (TS) did not live up to its tariffs terms & conditions. That's in the matter of the July 31, 2017 diverted flights TS157 and TS507.  Both flights, from Brussels and Rome, has to be diverted to Ottawa due to heavy thunderstorms in Montreal.

The verdict

The Canadian Transportation Agency ordered Air Transat the following four items (excerpt from CTA declaration):

  • "compensate all passengers of the two flights for out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the carrier's failure to apply its tariff.
  • ensure that its employees are properly trained on tariff provisions, policies, and procedures related to tarmac delays, and that employees understand these are legal obligations the air carrier is bound to respect.
  • amend its international tariffs to incorporate the terms and conditions of its Contingency Plan for Lengthy Tarmac Delays at US Airports, which create a positive obligation for the air carrier to deplane passengers if a tarmac delay reaches four hours – unless there are safety, security, or air traffic control issues that prevent it– and require that during the delay, the air carrier provide passengers with updates every 30 minutes, working lavatories, and needed medical assistance.
  • tighten the definition of Force Majeure in its tariffs."

The fine

In addition to the required actions, the CTA has imposed a $295,000 fine to the airliner. This amount can be lower proportional to the amount of compensation provided to passengers. That amount excludes out of pocket expenses. Air Transat CEO, Jean-Francois Lemay admitted to the fact that the carrier did not honor its obligations. You can hear the interview in French on 98.5fm.

Is the CTA really protecting passengers?

As we are getting an air passenger bill early 2018, I share the doubts of many on how it will protect travelers. CBC's Marketplace aired a piece on passenger rights and the upcoming bill. It's not very encouraging. The Minister of Transport himself states that compensation will not be given in the case of delays due to technical issues. Obviously Canadians will probably get a lower-tier treatment.

New rules will not get you compensation and the wait time in the plane will be upped to 3hours!
The CTA's ruling on Air Transat may be encouraging but the new bill could disappoint. Let's wait and see what Minister Garneau will come-up with early 2018.

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