Supreme Court won't hear injunction to require airline refunds

The Supreme Court has turned down an appeal by Air Passengers Rights for an injunction against the Canadian Transportation Agency's policy allowing airlines to cancel flights without refund.

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada won't hear a case about air passenger refunds for flights cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Air Passenger Rights organization wanted to challenge a Federal Court of Appeal decision that dismissed the group's bid for an injunction compelling the Canadian Transportation Agency to remove a post about refunds from its website temporarily while a broader case about the statement's validity plays out.

The transportation agency said in March that airlines have the right to issue travel credits instead of a refund for cancelled trips in the "current context," though the agency later clarified that the online statement was "not a binding decision."

Canadian airlines have generally offered credit valid for two years or more, but avoided offering reimbursement to customers whose flights were nixed because of the coronavirus crisis.

Air carriers have cited the transportation agency's stance in response to consumer complaints and analyst questions.

Air Passenger Rights founder Gabor Lukacs says the agency's statements misled travellers about their right to a refund and contradict the quasi-judicial body's previous decisions.

The pandemic has devastated the airline industry, with billions of dollars in losses for Canadian carriers due to grounded flights and tight international borders.

Related stories