The country’s largest airline announced late Wednesday that it will cut more than 15% of its flights in July and August amid the country’s air network swamped by the overwhelming surge in travel.
Under the measure, more than 9,500 flights, or 154 per day on average, will be removed from the airline’s schedule, which is already operating at just 80% of pre-pandemic levels.
The affected flights primarily connect the airline’s hubs in Toronto and Montreal and use domestic or Canada-US routes. The cancellations do not include international flights other than those destined for the United States.
Sylvie De Bellefeuille, a lawyer with the group Option consommateurs in Quebec, says that clients are
absolutely eligible for compensation under the Canadian Passenger Bill of Rights.
The Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR), which came into effect in 2019, require compensation, apart from a refund, between $400 and $1,000 for a cancellation or delay.
under the control of the carrier.
OfBellefeuille. So people should be entitled to compensation.”,”text”:”I think it was Air Canada’s decision to cancel the flights, said Ms. DeBellefeuille. Therefore, people should be entitled to compensation.”}}”>I think it was Air Canada’s decision to cancel the flights, Ms. de Bellefeuille said. Therefore, people should be entitled to compensation.
Air Canada’s responsibility?
While Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau has apologized for the flight cancellations and
customer service failuresalso said in an email to travelers that the reduced hours were due to tensions in the
world aeronautical system – potentially beyond Air Canada’s control – calling them
unprecedented and unexpected.
Gabor Lukacs, president of the travel rights group, said he believes airlines have
they oversold their capacity with the aim of compensating as much as possible for two years of negative results.
” Even though there were seats available on the plane, there was no pilot, no flight attendants, no gate agents. »
He added that the shortage of federal security and customs officers posed even more problems.
They are cancellations that are under the control of the carrier. […]. Airlines may claim otherwise, but these claims do not hold water.plot.
Air Canada explained in an email that customers will be automatically notified of cancellations indicating that
this process is ongoing.
We may be able to rebook immediately in some cases, while in others we will continue to investigate alternatives and let you know if options are available.spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said.
Customers can request a refund at any time, he said.
Air Canada did not respond to questions about whether the cancellations were within its control, but said that APR“,”text”:”would comply with its obligations under the APPR”}}”>fulfill its obligations under the APR.
It was not an easy decision as it will lead to additional flight cancellations which will negatively impact some customers.Mr. Rousseau said in the email to clients on Wednesday night.
However, doing so in advance gives affected customers time to make other arrangements in an orderly manner rather than having their trip interrupted shortly before or during their trip, with few alternatives available.he continued.
Air Canada’s cancellation of flights over the summer contrasts with the approach of WestJet Airlines, whose chief executive told The Canadian Press that it had gradually reduced its daylight saving schedule through the spring to ultimately offer 32% fewer trips to and from Toronto Pearson Airport in July compared to 2019.
Air Canada shares fell $1.03, or 6%, to close at $16.04 on Thursday. It was worth more than $21 at the beginning of the month.
Jacques Roy, professor of transportation management at the HEC Montreal business school, said the Montreal company’s revenue will suffer.
This is certainly not good news for Air Canada, [car] it is high season. This is the most lucrative quarter of the year, and it has been negative for three yearshe has said.
At least 400,000 passengers are likely to be affected, it added.
stress for travelers
Cathy Gray booked seats for a family trip to Scotland months ago and her flight has already been postponed once.
We book and pay for car rental and accommodation. We fear what might happen to our flight schedules in August and September and the ripple effect on our plans, he explained. All of this could have been avoided if the airlines had not been so greedy. It is shameful.
Passenger anguish was palpable on Air Canada’s website, which was overwhelmed by requests from travelers who wanted to check the status of their summer flights.
We are currently experiencing technical issues that may prevent you from retrieving your reservation onlinesaid an alert at the top of the airline’s home page Wednesday night.
Under federal regulations, passengers are entitled to alternative travel arrangements or a refund, at the traveler’s option, if they were notified more than two weeks in advance that their flight was canceled or delayed three hours or more for reasons beyond their control. of the airline.
If the trip was canceled 14 days or less in advance, passengers should receive $1,000 for a cancellation or delay of at least nine hours and $400 to $700 for a delay of three to nine hours.
Regardless of the time of the notice, a passenger who chooses to decline a rebooking must receive compensation of $400 in addition to a refund.
The airline must endeavor to rebook any passenger on an aircraft within its network departing within nine hours of the original departure time. If you can’t, you should offer to make a reservation on another airline.
as soon as possibleand this, free of charge, in accordance with the charter of passenger rights.
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