In an interview with the Toronto Star on Wednesday (March 3), Unifor President Jerry Dias caused a stir by "revealing" that Air Canada is committed to reimbursing its passengers whose flights were cancelled due to COVID-19.
According to the union leader, the airline has agreed to refund customers in exchange for the federal bailout that Ottawa is reportedly planning for Canada’s aviation sector.
Mr. Dias said he obtained the information directly from Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau.
However, as reported by the Canadian Press on Thursday (March 4), Air Canada is taking issue with Dias's take, saying no such conversation took place within the past week or beyond.
Discussions are ongoing
Air Canada also confirmed with PAX that there has not been much development on this file.
“We told the Star that there was no update since the Feb 12 earnings release. It clearly says discussions are ongoing and that is still the case. There is nothing new since we issued this release,” Pascale Déry, director, media relations at Air Canada, told PAX on March. 4
What did this press release say?
The said press release notes that the Canadian government has announced that it is setting up a package of aid measures intended for air carriers, but that any assistance will be provided "on condition” that the air carriers reimburse tickets for delayed or canceled flights due to the pandemic.
READ MORE: Air Canada refunding customers for bailout, says Dias; airline, Ottawa decline comment
The Feb. 12 press release also noted that Air Canada is encouraged by the constructive nature of the discussions it has held with representatives of the Canadian government.
"If these discussions prove to be fruitful, the aid granted would take into account the parameters of government policy mentioned above," specifies the company, referring in particular to the condition that air carriers reimburse consumers.
"Even if these discussions progress, there can be no guarantee that they will lead to the conclusion of definitive agreements with the Government of Canada with regard to financial assistance to the sector on terms acceptable to Air Canada," the press release said.
It therefore appears that what was expressed on Feb. 12 by Air Canada remains valid on March 4, no more, no less, suggests Déry.
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