Lufthansa Directed by Canadian Transportation Agency to Compensate Ticket-Holders
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OTTAWA - June 22, 2005 - The Canadian Transportation Agency today directed Lufthansa to take corrective measures after the air carrier failed to comply with its tariff by refusing to provide refunds for tickets purchased through a travel agency which unexpectedly closed its business.
The Agency ordered Lufthansa to pay a total of $13,455 to nine persons who bought tickets through Ideal Tours in Vancouver, unless the carrier can clearly demonstrate to the Agency that specific ticket-holders engaged in fraudulent activities relating to the issuance of the tickets.
As well, the Agency directed the air carrier to pay compensation for any expense incurred by a person adversely affected by the carrier's failure to apply the specific provisions of its tariff. Claims should be filed with the airline and the carrier is to inform the Agency about the claims.
In determining the appropriate corrective measures to be taken in this case, the Agency stated that "an overriding consideration in this regard is an air carrier's obligation to oversee and control the sale of its tickets, and to ensure that persons purchasing tickets in good faith not be penalized because of the failure by the carrier to properly manage its ticket distribution network."
On January 12, 2005, the Agency directed Lufthansa to take corrective action after it refused to transport persons presenting valid tickets issued by Travel Way Services, a former travel agency in the Toronto area.
In the current case, Lufthansa tickets were obtained through Ideal Tours in January 2003 by Mohammed Omar Satari, acting on behalf of 16 persons travelling between Vancouver and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Ideal Tours is alleged to have failed to forward the money paid for these tickets to the travel wholesalers, Skylink and WorldPlus, that actually issued the tickets.
Seven members of Mr. Satari's group were able to travel as planned, but the other nine were unable to do so because of Saudi Arabian visa restrictions. Mr. Satari sought refunds from Ideal Tours for the nine unused tickets, but found that the travel agency had closed its office. He then sought compensation from Lufthansa.
The Canadian Transportation Agency is an independent quasi-judicial tribunal that regulates various modes of transportation under Government of Canada jurisdiction, including air, marine and rail. Its procedures are governed by the rules of natural justice to ensure that all parties receive fair and equitable treatment.
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