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The European Regulation establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights (“EU261”) although oft cited by airlines as the bane of its bottom line, is generally considered to be the world leading consumer protection framework.
It begs the question - why then did the Canadian Transport Agency simply not adopt the EU261?
Well, because the CTA thought it could do one better.
In drafting the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (“APPR”) the CTA cited that it had drawn on world’s best practices, including the EU261 in order to produce a regulation which was transparent, clear, fair and consistent.* In doing so, it received submissions from Canadians, travellers and airlines alike to create an APPR which fairly governs air passengers’ rights, whilst ensuring that the competitiveness of especially small and new entrant carriers is not eroded.
Therein lay the biggest differences to the EU261:
The APPR splits the liability compensation regime to ease competitive pressure for new entrants and smaller air carriers.
The scope of the APPR is all encompassing with respect to Canada.
The APPR redefines the rules relating to when compensation is payable in the event of cancellation, delays and denied boardings.
The APPR sets clear time limits for the processing of claims of compensation to provide certainty to airlines.
The APPR stipulates the clear authority of the Canadian Transport Authority (“CTA”) to govern the APPR.
What can be understood from the APPR is that it aims to strike the balance of fairness between passengers’ reasonable expectations and airlines’ reasonable and realistic operational challenges. It appears to do so by the provision of a very clear, predictable and comprehensive regulatory framework.
Time will therefore tell whether the APPR will replace the EU261 as the model passenger protection framework.
Written by Frédéric Pelouze
6 June 2019
1 Regulatory Impact Statement, Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 153, Number 11.
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