Canadian Transportation Agency proposes co-operation in implementing order



    OTTAWA, Jan. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Transportation Agency has
offered to facilitate a collaborative process to develop a screening process
to implement the one-person-one-fare Decision it announced today for domestic
air travel.

    In a statement supplementing an order today to Air Canada, Air Canada
Jazz, WestJet and the Gander International Airport Authority, the Agency said
all affected parties would benefit from working out common terms of compliance
with Agency Decision No. 6-AT-A-2008.

    "It would be desirable to have a common screening approach to determine
eligibility to benefit under the one-person-one-fare policy," said Geoffrey
Hare, Chairman and CEO of the Agency. "A co-operative approach would be
potentially beneficial to Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz, WestJet and the Gander
International Airport Authority as well as other Canadian air carriers and
airport authorities that may consider voluntary implementation of the
one-person-one-fare policy.

    "This approach could include input from the medical community, the
community of persons with disabilities and other interested parties. It would
offer an opportunity to consider other practices and operational experiences,
as well as examination of alternative ways that the objectives set out in the
Agency's Decision can be operationalized.

    "The Canadian Transportation Agency is prepared to facilitate a
consultative process with Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz and WestJet if they
believe it would assist them in determining how best to put the
one-person-one-fare policy into practice."

    The Canadian Transportation Agency is an independent Government of Canada
tribunal which operates like a court. Among its responsibilities, the Agency
must facilitate the implementation of an effective and efficient federal
transportation network. It deals with issues such as the removal of undue
obstacles to persons with disabilities. The Agency's jurisdiction with respect
to persons with disabilities, stated in Part V of the Canada Transportation
Act, is to ensure that persons with disabilities have proper access to
effective transportation service.

    The Agency's Decision No. 6-AT-A-2008 on the one-person-one-fare
application can be viewed at www.cta.gc.ca. The Executive Summary, two
backgrounders and a related news release may be found in the Media Room at
www.cta.gc.ca.

    For further information, please contact:

    News Media Enquiries: Jadrino Huot at 819-953-9957
    General Public Enquiries: cta.comment@cta-otc.gc.ca; 1-888-222-2592

    The Canadian Transportation Agency is online at www.cta.gc.ca

    To keep up-to-date with our latest news releases and other information,
use our subscription service available on our home page under "subscription".

    
                                 BACKGROUNDER

                         ONE-PERSON-ONE-FARE POLICY

    January 10, 2008

    The Canadian Transportation Agency has ordered Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz
and WestJet to implement a one-person-one-fare policy for persons with severe
disabilities on flights within Canada.

    The three airlines have one year to implement the policy, which applies to
domestic air services. It does not apply to domestic segments of transborder
and international trips.

    The Agency's Decision 6-AT-A-2008 means that the airlines may not charge
more than one fare to persons with disabilities who are required by the
airlines' domestic tariffs to be accompanied by an attendant for their
personal care or safety on flights, or who require additional seating for
themselves for air travel, including those disabled by obesity.

    The Decision does NOT apply to:

    - Persons with disabilities or others who prefer to travel with a
      companion for personal reasons;
    - Persons with disabilities who require a personal care attendant at
      destination, but not in-flight;
    - Persons who are obese but not disabled by their obesity.

    The Agency estimates that 80,600 persons with disabilities who travel by
air will be eligible to benefit from the policy based on the Decision, which
for purposes of domestic travel represents 0.32 per cent of the domestic air
passenger traffic carried by Air Canada and WestJet.

    Based on evidence from all parties involved and expert witnesses, the
Agency concluded that implementation of a one-person-one-fare policy works out
to an estimated annual cost, based on 2005 data, of $7.1 million for Air
Canada and $1.5 million for WestJet. This represents 0.09 per cent of Air
Canada's passenger revenues of $8.2 billion and 0.16 per cent of WestJet's
equivalent revenues of $1.4 billion.

    This is equivalent to a revenue loss for Air Canada of 41 cents per trip
across its 17.1 million domestic trips and 16 cents for WestJet across its
9.1 million domestic trips.

    Considering the response of the carriers' "yield management systems" to
the policy, the Agency estimates the price of the average domestic Air Canada
fare may increase by 77 cents and by 44 cents for the average WestJet fare.

    Three longstanding principles cited as particularly relevant to this
Decision are the right of persons with disabilities:

    - to full participation in all aspects of society and equal access to
      transportation;
    - to suffer no economic disadvantage or pay more for their transportation
      services than other passengers;
    - to treatment in the same manner regardless of the underlying reason for
      their disability.
    

    The Decision flows from the Agency's legislative mandate to remove "undue
obstacles" to the mobility of persons with disabilities and it is consistent
with the recent Supreme Court of Canada direction to the Agency to apply the
same human rights test as is applied under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

    The January 13, 2006 Federal Court of Appeal decision in Linda
McKay-Panos v. Air Canada confirmed that a person who is obese may be disabled
for purposes of air travel if unable to fit in an airline seat.

    In today's Decision, the Agency has determined that only a small group of
obese domestic air travellers, only those who are severely obese, would be
eligible under a one-person-one-fare policy.

    The Agency has also determined that eligibility for the policy must be
assessed by the air carriers on a case-by-case basis.

    The Gander International Airport Authority was also a respondent in the
case. The Agency concluded that the Gander Airport Authority also failed to
produce evidence to demonstrate that implementation of a one-person-one-fare
policy will impose undue hardship on it. Accordingly, the authority was
ordered not to charge its airport improvement fee, currently $20, for
attendants.

    The Agency's Decision No. 6-AT-A-2008 on the one-person-one-fare
application may be viewed at www.cta.gc.ca. The Executive Summary, a
backgrounder on the application and two news releases may be found in the
Media Room at www.cta.gc.ca.




For further information:

For further information: News Media Enquiries: Jadrino Huot, (819)
953-9957; General Public Enquiries: info@otc-cta.gc.ca, 1-888-222-2592;The
Canadian Transportation Agency is online at www.cta.gc.ca; To keep up-to-date
with our latest news releases and other information, use our subscription
service available on our home page under "subscription".


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