Air transport: the minister says that the bill of rights will be reinforced


Canada’s transport minister said the federal government and the country’s aviation sector are working to strengthen the passenger bill of rights after a summer marked by delayed and canceled flights.

Answering questions from reporters at a press conference at Ottawa International Airport on Monday, Omar Alghabra acknowledged the « unacceptable » problems air travelers have faced this year, from delayed and canceled flights to lost luggage .

The comments came after the minister called a summit last week with the airline industry to discuss outstanding issues facing the sector ahead of the holidays.

Speaking on Monday, Alghabra said topics discussed included how to modernize the security screening process, ways airports could generate additional revenue to provide greater financial flexibility and lessons learned to reform reporting. passenger rights, including standards for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and other government agencies.

« That’s the kind of stuff we’re looking at because it’s really important that we keep in mind the focus on the passenger experience. That’s ultimately what we’re all trying to do, » said said Alghabra.

The federal government pointed to an increase in demand for air travel — up to 280% between February and June, Alghabra said — and labor shortages to contribute to problems at Canada’s major airports, as well than in others in the world. .

The wait time, as of Monday, to review air travel complaints filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency may be more than 18 months.

« I won’t deny that there were some very frustrating moments and episodes that were frustrating for passengers, that were frustrating for airlines, that were frustrating for our government, and there were a lot of lessons learned, » Alghabra said.

While still below pre-pandemic levels, aircraft movements are steadily increasing and as of September 2022 were 91.7% of their September 2019 level, according to recent Statistics Canada data.

This year, many Canadians have also struggled to renew their passports as more applications have been made with the easing of travel restrictions.

Alghabra said that although passport processing falls under Service Canada, which Minister Karina Gould oversees, her « impression » is that the time taken to obtain a passport is now normal or close to normal.

The service standard for a regular passport application submitted in Canada, starting Monday, is 10 business days if submitted in person at a passport office and 20 business days if submitted in person at a Service Center Regular Canada. The website indicates that processing times may be longer due to high volumes.

Meanwhile, Canadian airlines in April asked a federal appeals court to overturn certain rules regarding compensation for delayed flights and damaged baggage.

With files from data reporter Deena Zaidi and The Canadian Press


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