Air Canada will eventually have to pay US $ 4.5 million (approximately $ 5.6 million) to compensate the thousands of American customers who canceled or modified their flights in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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An agreement was reached between the carrier of the United States Department of Transportation and the Office of Air Travelers Protection, which initiated legal action against Air Canada for delaying payment of compensation to its customers.
This is a record compensation claimed by the air carrier, the department said in a press release Monday.
The carrier explained that “Air Canada has decided to reach an agreement with its shareholders with the US government to avoid lengthy litigation as it focuses on its reconstruction after the epidemic.”
Overall Air Canada is fine with this deal. Last June, the US government launched a total of $ 25.5 million in lawsuits against the carrier over delays of more than a year to reimburse US customers.
“United States Department of Transportation […] Agreed for US $ 4.5 million, 2.5 million less credit already reimbursed to customers who are not eligible for such reimbursements, ”said Pascal Dairy, a term for Air Canada.
“The sellers of carriers and other sellers of airline tickets have a legal obligation to reimburse customers if the airline cancels or significantly alters the flight,” the Department of Transportation recalled. The repayment period should be limited to a maximum of a few weeks with some more tolerance threshold during the epidemic.
“Air Canada has not acted in good faith. On the contrary, almost a year after the May 2020 announcement, Air Canada continues to violate US law and pursue a policy of no reimbursement, ”US officials said.
The government said it had received more than 6,000 complaints against Air Canada.
He responded by assuring that the Department of Transportation’s rules on the Montreal – based carrier reimbursement period were merely “guidelines” and had no legal value.
“Did not commit any reprehensible act”, Ms. Derry reiterated Monday that the Department of Transportation has “begun to review its provisions to coordinate the law with its interpretation.”
Remember that Air Canada was also confused by the delay in repaying its Canadian customers, who decided to do so only after receiving $ 5.9 billion in assistance from Ottawa.