Discontinuance or Reduction of a Domestic Air Service to a Community
When carriers plan to discontinue or reduce certain domestic services, the Canada Transportation Act specifies that they must meet certain notice requirements. Notice is required in three situations:
- When a carrier proposes to discontinue service that would result in only one or no carriers serving a point.
- When a carrier proposes to reduce the frequency of a service to less than one flight per week, which results in only one or no carriers providing service to that point at least once per week.
- When a carrier proposes to discontinue a year-round, non-stop, scheduled air service between two points in Canada that would result in major seating capacity reductions on that route.
If one of these situations arises, the carrier must give the community or communities affected at least 120 days notice before the date it proposes to discontinue or reduce a service. For carriers who have served the point for less than one year, they are required to give 30 days notice. In addition, the carrier must provide elected officials of the community or communities affected an opportunity to discuss the impact of its proposal to discontinue or reduce service.
A carrier may apply to the Agency to have the notice period reduced.
The carrier must publish its notice in the largest circulated newspaper serving the community affected by the change in air services. The air carrier is also required to serve a copy of the notice on the federal Minister of Transport, the minister of transport in the province or territory to be affected, and on the Agency.
If you believe that a carrier has not given proper notice as set out above, you may complain to the Agency. If the Agency finds that proper notice was not given, it may order the carrier to reinstate the service for up to 60 days if it is practicable to do so. A designated enforcement officer for the Agency may also fine a carrier that has failed to provide proper notice.
It should be noted that this process cannot prevent a carrier who has given proper notice from discontinuing its service.