AC, WestJet Welcome Proposed Transportation Act Changes

Air Canada and WestJet are welcoming the Canadian government’s proposed Transportation Modernization Act.

The Government of Canada yesterday introduced legislation to provide a better experience for travellers and a transparent, fair, efficient and safer freight rail system to facilitate trade and economic growth.

Key measures of the proposed legislation include: establishing new air passenger rights; liberalizing international ownership restrictions for Canadian air carriers to provide travellers with more choice through increased competition; improving access, transparency, efficiency, and sustainable long-term investment in the freight rail sector; and increasing the safety of transportation in Canada by requiring railways to install voice and video recorders in locomotives.

In introduced the legislation, Minister of Transport Marc Garneau commented, “In a vast nation like Canada, Canadians rely on economically viable modes of transportation to travel and move commodities within the country, across the border, and to our ports for shipment overseas. The time has come to modernize our policies and practices to provide a safer, more competitive and respectful system that can respond to modern conditions and to Canadians’ expectations.

When Canadians purchase an airline ticket, they expect the airline to provide the service that they paid for and to be treated with respect. When things don’t go the way they are planned, travellers deserve clear, transparent, fair and consistent compensation.”

In a statement regarding the news, Air Canada said it “welcomes the government’s desire to establish air passenger rights that are clear, consistent, transparent and fair for passengers and air carriers industry-wide. We believe it is in the interest of all parties to create a more predictable and fair system that applies to all airlines operating in Canada, which is not currently the case. Air Canada looks forward to participating in the consultation process relating to the new regulations over the coming months.

“The increase of foreign ownership limits to 49% (from 25%) should provide improved access to international investors and global capital markets for Air Canada.”

WestJet also welcomes the initiative.

“For more than 21 years, we have taken great pride in our award-winning culture of care and the efforts of our more than 12,000 WestJetters to deliver a remarkable guest experience each and every day,” said Mike McNaney, WestJet vice-president, Industry, Corporate and Airport Affairs. “We welcome the legislation and are committed to working with the CTA, the Minister, parliamentarians and government agencies in the months to come.

“We also encourage the government to address all aspects of the travel experience, particularly those beyond the control of airlines such as lengthy wait times for passenger screening and customs,” added McNaney. “We believe that any effort to improve the guest’s travel experience must take into account all aspects of that experience, in particular those services provided by the federal government.”

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