Ottawa, ON, April 24, 2023 – Jeff Morrison, President, and CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC), which represents Canada’s largest air carriers (Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation LP and WestJet), issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement by the Minister of Transport regarding proposed changes to the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR):

“The proposed amendments to the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) contained in Bill C-47 will not improve the operation of Canada’s air travel system or the travel experience for customers.  The best passenger protection regime is a system in which travel disruptions are minimized – nothing in these legislative changes will accomplish that.   On the other hand, targeted infrastructure funding, re-investment of airport rent, increasing the accountability of third party service providers, and reduction of costs and fees would strengthen the system, as has been repeatedly recommended by many parliamentary committee and government reports issued over the last several years, including in February 2023 by the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.”

The Minister acknowledged today the need for shared accountability when he indicated that airlines ought to be able to recoup costs from airports, as airlines are the customers of airports.  We welcome this commitment from the Minister and look forward to working with him to ensure that a shared accountability framework serves to improve the overall air travel system.

NACC is concerned with a number of the elements contained in the proposed legislation, including:

  • Safety will always be the primary consideration for Canadian airlines.  Although revised safety parameters under the APPRs will be determined through a regulatory process, no airline should be penalized for adhering to the highest standards of safety, whether that is due to weather, mechanical issues, or other safety-related constraints.
  • The failure to expand accountability and data sharing for any other organization in the air travel system, despite the fact that many travel disruptions are caused by these entities, will mean that the air travel system overall will not improve.  Airlines are being forced to continue shouldering sole responsibility for all organizations in the overall system, over which they have no control.  Passengers pay for the services provided by the other participants in the air travel system via fees embedded in their ticket and should therefore expect service standards from these entities.
  • By imposing a new fee for passenger claims submitted to the Canadian Transportation Agency and expanding compensation requirements, the cost of air travel may increase, threatening access, connectivity, and choice for passengers.
  • Government travel advisories are not in the airlines’ control.  Airlines should not be held liable if the Government of Canada implements a change in a travel advisory; unless an airline makes the decision to cancel a flight.

Despite this punitive approach, NACC and its member airlines will continue to advocate for measures that will improve the air travel experience for passengers – these measures include investments in airport infrastructure, introducing incentives for Sustainable Aviation Fuels, creating a system of shared accountability amongst all entities in the air travel system, and reviewing the significant number of third party fees and charges that are making air travel unaffordable for too many Canadians.  We call on the federal government to work with us to create a stronger, more competitive air travel system for all passengers, rather than continue to wrongly single out one entity in air travel chain.”

About the National Airlines Council of Canada:

The National Airlines Council of Canada represents Canada’s largest national and international passenger air carriers:  Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation LP and WestJet.  It promotes safe, sustainable, accessible and competitive air travel by advocating for the development of policies, regulations and legislation to foster a world-class transportation system.  Pre-pandemic our members collectively carried over 80 million passengers annually, directly employed over 60,000 people and served as a critical component of Canada’s overall air transport and tourism sector, which supported more than 630,000 jobs.

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