Decision No. 350-P-A-2011

September 27, 2011

COMPLAINT by Humphrey Stead concerning a fare charged for carriage on Jazz Aviation LP, as represented by its general partner, Aviation General Partner Inc. carrying on business as Air Canada Jazz between Nanaimo and Vancouver, British Columbia.

File No.: 
M4120-3/11-04505

Introduction and Issues

On August 30, 2011, Humphrey Stead filed a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency) alleging that a fare of $894.32 for round-trip carriage on Jazz Aviation LP, as represented by its general partner, Aviation General Partner Inc. carrying on business as Air Canada Jazz (Air Canada Jazz) between Nanaimo and Vancouver, departing on November 11, 2011 and returning on December 4, 2011, is too high. Mr. Stead submits that a flight from Nanaimo to Vancouver takes 20 minutes, and that the difference of $94.40 between the round trip base fare of $1,404.20 for carriage on the aforementioned dates with Air Canada Jazz and Air Canada between Nanaimo and Barcelona, Spain and the round-trip base fare of $1,309.80 for carriage on the same dates between Vancouver and Barcelona with Air Canada, represents the real cost to operate flights on the Nanaimo–Vancouver route.

The issues to be addressed are whether, on or about August 30, 2011, Air Canada Jazz was the only person providing a domestic service on the Nanaimo-Vancouver route within the meaning of section 66 of the Canada Transportation Act, S.C., 1996, c. 10, as amended (CTA) and, if so, whether the fare offered or published in respect of the service between Nanaimo and Vancouver, which is the subject of this complaint, was unreasonable.

For the reasons that follow, the Agency finds that on or about August 30, 2011, Air Canada Jazz was not the only person providing a domestic service on the Nanaimo-Vancouver route within the meaning of section 66 of the CTA. Consequently, the Agency does not have jurisdiction to determine whether the fare at issue was unreasonable, and dismisses the complaint.

Analysis and Findings

Section 66 of the CTA sets out the Agency’s jurisdiction over complaints concerning fares applied by air carriers for domestic services. Pursuant to subsection 66(1) of the CTA, the Agency may take certain remedial action following receipt of a complaint.

The Agency must first determine whether Air Canada Jazz is the only person providing a domestic service between Nanaimo and Vancouver.

Pursuant to subsection 66(4) of the CTA, the Agency’s jurisdiction over complaints concerning fares may be extended to domestic routes served by more than one licensee where the Agency is of the opinion that none of the other services between those two points provide a reasonable alternative “taking into consideration the number of stops, the number of seats offered, the frequency of service, the flight connections and the total travel time”.

In making its findings, the Agency has reviewed and considered the complaint as well as information available both publicly and within the Agency concerning air services provided between Nanaimo and Vancouver, including the Official Airline Guide, the Internet and published flight schedules.

Based on this information, the Agency is of the opinion that during the week of August 30, 2011, in addition to being served by Air Canada Jazz, the Nanaimo-Vancouver route was served by Harbour Air Ltd. (Harbour Air) and Seair Seaplanes Ltd. (Seair).

From the information available to the Agency, Air Canada Jazz’s service between Nanaimo and Vancouver during the week of August 30, 2011 consisted of:

  • approximately 94 direct, non-stop flights;
  • service every day of the week;
  • a total weekly capacity of approximately 4,474 seats;
  • small or medium aircraft, as defined in the Air Transportation Regulations, SOR/88-58, as amended (ATR), utilized on all flights; and
  • a total travel time between Nanaimo and Vancouver of approximately 42 minutes.

Available information also indicates that Harbour Air’s service between Nanaimo and Vancouver during the week of August 30, 2011 consisted of:

  • approximately 185 direct, non-stop flights;
  • service every day of the week;
  • a total weekly capacity of approximately 555 – 3,330 seats;
  • small aircraft, as defined in the ATR, utilized on all flights; and
  • a total travel time between Nanaimo and Vancouver of approximately 40 minutes.

Available information also indicates that Seair’s service between Nanaimo and Vancouver during the week of August 30, 2011 consisted of:

  • approximately 80 direct, non-stop flights;
  • service every day of the week;
  • a total weekly capacity of approximately 480-1,120 seats;
  • small aircraft, as defined in the ATR, utilized on all flights; and
  • a total travel time between Nanaimo and Vancouver of approximately 30 minutes.

The Agency has examined and analyzed the services provided by Air Canada Jazz, Harbour Air and Seair between Nanaimo and Vancouver during the week of August 30, 2011. Based on the factors set out in subsection 66(4) of the CTA, both individually and collectively, the Agency is of the opinion that, although the services provided by Harbour Air and Seair were not as extensive as Air Canada Jazz’s service, Harbour Air and Seair’s services provided travellers with an alternative.

The Agency therefore finds that Air Canada Jazz was not the only person providing a domestic service between Nanaimo and Vancouver on or about August 30, 2011 within the meaning of section 66 of the CTA.

Therefore, the Agency has no jurisdiction to consider the complaint.

Conclusion

Based on the above findings, the Agency dismisses the complaint.

Member(s)

Jean-Denis Pelletier, P.Eng.
Raymon J. Kaduck
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