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Air passenger rights: Court dismisses airlines’ attempt to suspend new federal rules

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The Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed an attempt by airlines to suspend the country’s new passenger rights charter until an appeal of the regulations is heard.

A judge turned down Tuesday a motion by Air Canada, Porter Airlines Inc. and 14 other carriers to freeze the traveller protections while the appeal is being dealt with.

Justice David Near said the appellants did not show on a balance of probabilities that the rules would cause irreparable harm.

The new regulations aim to beef up compensation for travellers subjected to delayed flights and damaged luggage.

The issue came to the forefront after a 2017 incident in which two Montreal-bound Air Transat jets were diverted to Ottawa because of bad weather and were held on the tarmac for up to six hours, leading some passengers to call 911.

While some travellers and advocates say the rules allow for loopholes, the appellants argue the regulations exceed the Canadian Transportation Agency’s authority and contravene the Montreal Convention, a multilateral treaty.

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