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Local air passenger rights advocate slams federal bailout of Air Canada

Recently, Ottawa reached a deal with Air Canada that will allow the airline to access roughly $5.9 billion in financial aid to help as it continues to struggle with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
Airplane
File photo

A local air passenger rights advocate is slamming the federal bailout of Air Canada, calling it a bad deal.

Recently, Ottawa reached a deal with Air Canada that will allow the airline to access roughly $5.9 billion in financial aid to help as it continues to struggle with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Air Canada then revised its refund policy to cover eligible customers who bought non-refundable tickets between Feb. 1, 2020, and April 13, 2021.

But Gabor Lukacs, founder of Air Passenger Rights, told NEWS 95.7 fill-in host Todd Veinotte he believes this is a bad deal for Canadian taxpayers.

"While Air Canada is graciously agreeing to refund money that belongs to passengers, there is no enforcement mechanism in the deal to ensure that if you are owed a refund, you actually will be getting it," said Lukacs.

He says Air Canada put out new terms and conditions shortly after details of its refund policy changes were announced, which he claims excludes the obligation to refund passengers in some cases.

"So although Air Canada has been telling the public and the media that going forward they would be refunding passengers who purchased tickets from now on, that's not what the fine print says," he said.

He adds because it's an unsecured loan, there would be no real way to seize assets if the company defaults on its repayments
 



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Chris Halef

About the Author: Chris Halef

Chris is a reporter for HalifaxToday.ca and NEWS 95.7. In 2018, he won the RTDNA Dave Rogers Award for best short feature.
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