Air Canada is appealing a decision by the country’s transport regulator that seeks to boost accessibility for travellers living with a disability.
The move at the Federal Court of Appeal aims to overturn orders from the Canadian Transportation Agency requiring the airline to accommodate passengers whose power wheelchairs don’t fit through the cargo door of a scheduled plane.
The agency told Air Canada to either find similar flights on a comparable route or swap in a plane that can carry the electric wheelchairs, as long as the customer makes the request three weeks in advance.
Air Canada’s appeal of the plane substitution order prolongs a case that has dragged on for more than seven years after passenger Tim Rose accused the company of discrimination when it told him his power wheelchair wouldn’t fit in 2016, rendering his Ohio-bound flight off limits.
Rose says the latest move is “disappointing,” particularly after Air Canada touted new measures in November to improve the travel experience for passengers with a disability.
Air Canada says it has accepted most of the ruling’s orders to remove barriers but challenged the obligation to change aircraft on short notice for smaller routes.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 11, 2024.