Federal government considers further improvements to passenger rights regulations following Sunwing travel delays: Transport minister

The federal government is considering tightening passenger rights regulations following the extreme travel delays experienced by Sunwing Airlines customers during the holiday season, Transport Minister Omar Al-Ghabra said.

“I met with the president of Sunwing Airlines and his team. I told him the frustration I felt on behalf of Canadians. I asked him many questions. Vasi Kapelos Show Podcast on iHeartRadio on January 5th.

Alghabra, under a liberal government, Canadian Transport Agency (CTA) introduced the Air Passenger Protection Regulations in 2019 and is considering strengthening the regulations going forward to prevent major travel delays in the future.

“It improved a few months ago,” he said, referring to new regulations put in place by the CTA in September that allow airlines to punish customers for cancellations and delays if they haven’t taken another flight within 48 days. I mentioned that I requested a full refund. time regardless of whether the delay was under the control of the airline.

“Now, what can we learn from this to further strengthen the system?” Al-Ghabra said.

Liberal MP Peter Siefke, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said earlier this week that he saw some Canadians stranded abroad well past their planned return dates while on vacation. said it would convene a conference on international and domestic travel delays.

Passengers on some VIA Rail trains have also experienced significant delays, with some trains stranded for over 18 hours in the days leading up to Christmas due to extreme weather. At least one train derailed.


Schiefke said he would ask representatives of both VIA Rail and Sunwing to testify, but did not mention asking Alghabra to attend.

On January 4, five committee members (one NDP and four Conservatives) wrote to Schiefke requesting to expedite the meeting and request Alghabra to testify.

The committee is currently scheduled to meet on January 9 without witnesses.

Alghabra said on January 5 that “Canadians understand” that extreme weather events occasionally affect the aviation industry, leading to travel disruptions.

“But what seemed unacceptable was the lack of communication about when recovery would take place and when repatriation would take place. [Sunwing] It certainly left many customers in the dark,” he said.

“They had little room to spare for stress and extreme weather, leading to frustrating incidents.”

On January 5, Sunwing publicly apologized to customers who experienced the delay, but said the majority of holiday season passengers “enjoyed their vacation with minimal disruption”.

“We regret that we were not able to provide the level of service you expected. sun wing,” with Stephen Hunter, CEO of Sunwing Travel Group sun wing Airline President Len Collard said in a joint statement:

“There have been clear failures in execution, particularly in dealing with weather-related delays and severe weather disturbances. It can no longer be mitigated.”

The Canadian Press and Isaac Teo contributed to this report.

peter wilson
Peter Wilson is a reporter based in Ontario, Canada.