Order No. 2016-A-215

December 15, 2016
APPLICATION by WestJet for an exemption from the application of section 59 of the Canada Transportation Act, S.C., 1996, c. 10, as amended (CTA).
Case number: 
16-05885

WestJet has applied to the Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency) for an exemption to permit it to sell, cause to be sold or publicly offer for sale in Canada an international air service operated on a scheduled basis between Canada and Belize, in the absence of a licence.

Section 59 of the CTA states that no person shall sell, cause to be sold or publicly offer for sale in Canada an air service unless, if required under Part II of the CTA, a person holds a licence issued under that Part in respect of that service and that licence is not suspended.

WestJet is licensed to operate an international air service on a scheduled basis, using large aircraft, between Canada and Belize.

Condition No. 2 of the licence states:

This licence shall terminate on June 30, 2017.

The extension of the validity period of the licence is subject to approval by the Agency, on application.

WestJet is requesting this exemption to allow it to sell seats beyond the termination date of its licence.

The Agency deals with applications for exemptions from the application of section 59 on a case by case basis. The Agency recognizes that section 59 is a consumer protection measure. It is intended to prevent situations in which consumers in Canada pay for a service to an entity that does not hold an Agency licence and are left out of pocket or experience any manner of inconvenience or hardship that may result if that entity does not commence operations on schedule.

Accordingly, prior to granting an exemption from the application of section 59 of the CTA, the Agency must be satisfied that the applicant is taking all the necessary steps to meet all licence issuance requirements and that the licence will be issued prior to the proposed start of operations.

In this case, WestJet meets the requirements to hold a licence to operate an international air service on a scheduled basis, using large aircraft, between Canada and Belize.

The Agency finds that an exemption from the application of section 59 of the CTA is appropriate in the circumstances.

Accordingly, the Agency, pursuant to paragraph 80(1)(c) of the CTA, exempts WestJet from the application of section 59 of the CTA, effective from the date of this Order, permitting it to sell, cause to be sold or publicly offer for sale in Canada an international air service operated on a scheduled basis between Canada and Belize, for travel beyond the termination date of its licence.

This exemption is subject to the following conditions:

  1. The exemption does not relieve WestJet from the requirement to hold a licence in respect of the service to be provided and, accordingly, no flight shall be operated if the appropriate licence authority has not been granted and is not in effect as at the date of any flight.
  2. Should WestJet, pursuant to this exemption order, sell seats on flights requiring the extension of the validity period of the current licence or an alternative licence and the extension has not been approved or the alternative licence has not been granted as at the date of any applicable flight, WestJet shall arrange to provide alternative air transportation by an appropriately licensed air carrier, at no additional costs for all passengers who have made reservations with WestJet. If such arrangements are not possible or acceptable to the passenger, WestJet shall arrange to provide a full refund of all monies paid by the passenger.

This exemption will be automatically revoked should WestJet cease to hold a valid licence for this service.

Member(s)

P. Paul Fitzgerald
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