Feds, airlines battle over passenger rights bill
Transport Minister Marc Garneau pushed back Thursday against suggestions the Liberals’ proposed air passenger bill of rights is too heavy-handed with airlines, saying the government’s intent is not to pick on air carriers.
Garneau told a Commons committee studying the proposal that the government’s goal is to create regulations that are fair to airlines and passengers to ensure everyone knows their rights and responsibilities.
The regulations would impose what Garneau described as hefty fines on airlines in situations where a passenger has been bumped from an overbooked flight, had luggage lost or damaged, or was stuck on a tarmac for far too long — but only if these were within the carrier’s control.
If it is something beyond the control of the airline — bad weather, air traffic control issues, or a security threat at an airport, for instance — then the carrier wouldn’t be held liable.
“It is an objective of this to come up with something that clearly addresses passenger rights, but that is also fair to the airlines,” Garneau said. “We’re not here to pick on the airlines. We’re here to make sure that passenger rights are respected.
“If it was a decision that was within the control of the airline that prevented you from taking that flight, there needs to be compensation.”