Order No. 2008-AT-A-327

August 29, 2008

August 29, 2008

IN THE MATTER OF an application by Air Canada, pursuant to section 32 of the Canada Transportation Act, S.C., 1996, c. 10, as amended, to vary Decision No. 336-AT-A-2008.

File No. U3570/13


On June 26, 2008 the Canadian Transportation Agency (the Agency) issued Decision No. 336-AT-A-2008 (the Decision) regarding accommodation for persons with disabilities who require medical oxygen to travel by air. At the time of the issuance of the Decision, Air Canada allowed the use of passenger-supplied portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) on its domestic routes, as well as on its transborder, Central American, Caribbean and Mexican routes, but did not allow their use on its other international routes. Air Canada indicated its intention to review its experience with POCs, commencing in or about August 2008, with a view to expanding its POC policy to its other destinations.

In the Decision, the Agency found that, for international flights, the most appropriate accommodation was passenger-supplied POCs. However, the Agency found that Air Canada's oxygen service would constitute a reasonable alternative to the most appropriate accommodation on those international routes where POCs are permitted by foreign regulatory regimes but not yet allowed by Air Canada so long as the undue obstacles found in the oxygen service were eliminated. The corrective measures ordered by the Agency on these routes include providing its oxygen service free of charge onboard the aircraft, with the exception of fees related to the cost of oxygen itself and any non-reusable pieces of equipment.

On August 21, 2008, Air Canada submitted to the Agency its firm intention to accept passenger-supplied POCs on all of its international flights by September 30, 2008 and requested permission not to amend its international tariff to remove the charge for its Medipaks on these international routes during the interim period until September 30, 2008.

Although the Agency did require Air Canada to remove the charge for its oxygen service on these routes, it did so based on the uncertainty of whether Air Canada would accept POCs on these routes and, if so, the possibility that there would be a lengthy delay in implementing this change. However, given Air Canada's commitment to provide the most appropriate accommodation by accepting passenger-supplied POCs for use on all of its international flights commencing September 30, 2008, the Agency finds that it would be unreasonable to require Air Canada to amend its international tariff to remove the charge for its Medipaks on international routes where POCs are permitted but not allowed by Air Canada during this short interim period.

The Agency has reviewed the submission filed and has found, pursuant to section 32 of the Canada Transportation Act, that this commitment constitutes new facts and circumstances sufficient to justify a review of the Decision. The Agency therefore varies Decision No. 336-AT-A-2008 by modifying the order for corrective measures contained in paragraph 355 to read as follows:

[355] For international routes where passenger-supplied POCs are permitted by foreign regulatory regimes but not allowed by Air Canada, Air Canada is required to continue to provide a carrier-supplied gaseous oxygen service as an alternative to the most appropriate accommodation. Insofar as it does so after September 30, 2008 by using its Medipak service or alternatively through a third-party supplier, it is required to implement the corrective measures set out in the domestic section in paragraphs 346 to 354 on those routes. [new text is bold]

This Order takes effect on August 21, 2008, the date on which it was verbally communicated by Agency counsel to Air Canada.

Date modified: