CUPE pushes feds to tighten air­line pas­sen­ger safety rules

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - BUSINESS -

A na­tional union rep­re­sent­ing thousands of flight at­ten­dants is us­ing a re­cent court rul­ing to push the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to tighten air­line pas­sen­ger safety rules.

A Fed­eral Court of Ap­peal judge ruled last week that Trans­port Canada couldn’t have rea­son­ably con­cluded that pas­sen­ger or crew safety wasn’t com­pro­mised when it al­lowed Sun­wing Air­lines to in­crease the ra­tio of pas­sen­gers to flight at­ten­dants on its air­craft.

The agency’s 2013 de­ci­sion to al­low one at­ten­dant for ev­ery 50 pas­sen­gers in­stead of 40 came de­spite the air­line fail­ing three evac­u­a­tion tests un­der the new sys­tem.

The rul­ing also says the air­line pro­vided the gov­ern­ment with a cur­sory risk as­sess­ment that con­tained lit­tle or no ev­i­dence to sup­port its con­clu­sions that safety was not com­pro­mised.

The Cana­dian Union of Pub­lic Em­ploy­ees, which took the gov­ern­ment to court over the Sun­wing de­ci­sion, says the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment should force all air­lines to use the lower ra­tio of pas­sen­gers to crew to pro­mote safety.

CUPE na­tional pres­i­dent Mark Han­cock says the rul­ing should be a ma­jor wake-up call for Trans­port Canada to put the safety of pas­sen­gers and crew be­fore any other con­sid­er­a­tions.

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