A report exclusive to the Toronto Star claiming that Air Canada has agreed to refund customers in exchange for a federal bailout package was published Wednesday evening (March 3).
Sourcing Unifor President Jerry Dias, the Star reported that Air Canada has agreed to offer refunds to those passengers whose flights were postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thousands of flights were cancelled in March 2020 last year when governments worldwide closed borders and grounded airplanes as the coronavirus escalated into a global pandemic.
Dias told the Star that he’s spoken with Air Canada and government officials involved in the negotiations, and that the airline has agreed to Ottawa’s demand to refund customers who weren’t reimbursed for their plane tickets.
In November 2020, then-Transport Minister Marc Garneau made it clear that if the airline industry wants federal aid, they must first refund cancelled flights.
The Star was unable to confirm the claim with either Air Canada or the government as both declined to comment due to ongoing negotiations.
“The precondition for receiving a federal aid package is that Air Canada and the other airlines will have to repay customers. I know that Air Canada has absolutely agreed to do that,” Dias told the Star.
However, Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick said Air Canada has been “encouraged with the constructive nature of discussions.”
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