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Canada proposes hefty redress for airline delays

[OTTAWA] Airline passengers in Canada could soon be eligible for significant compensation for delayed flights or lost baggage, under proposed regulations unveiled by the government on Monday.

The draft rules follow a rising number of complaints, including from one flight stuck on the tarmac in Ottawa for nearly six hours, with no air conditioning and the stench of a sick child's vomit in the air.

The long wait in sweltering heat on that July 2017 flight led one passenger to dial emergency services for help after being told they could not disembark.

"We all know someone who has had a negative flight experience or we have seen stories in the news," Transport Minister Marc Garneau told a news conference in the baggage area of Ottawa's international airport.

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"Except in circumstances which are beyond their control, we're going to make sure that airlines treat their passengers with the respect they deserve and live up to their commitments."

The rules - subject to a public consultation - would apply to flights to, from and within Canada, and provide for up to C$1,000 (S$1,030) in compensation for delays or cancelations, and C$2,400 for customers bumped from a flight due to overbooking.

Compensation would also be required for lost or damaged baggage, including a refund of baggage fees.

Ottawa reviewed US and EU rules when drafting its own, Mr Garneau said.

According to the government statistics agency, there are an average of 5.5 million take-offs and landings at Canada's 91 airports each year.

Due to its vast geography, air transportation is crucial for connecting parts of the country. A flight from easternmost to westernmost Canada takes about eight hours.