Canada says airline aid contingent on refunding customers

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Canada’s government will soon announce aid for the country’s airline industry but the help will be contingent on carriers providing refunds to passengers whose flights were cancelled, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Sunday.

Canada’s commercial airlines have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with passenger levels down as much as 90%.

Airlines have cancelled numerous pre-booked trips, offering passengers credits or vouchers instead of refunds.

“Before we spend one penny of taxpayer money on airlines, we will ensure Canadians get their refunds,” Garneau said in a statement ahead of talks later in the week. “We will ensure Canadians and regional communities retain air connections to the rest of Canada.”

The U.S. and European countries, including France and Germany, have offered billions in financial relief for their struggling airlines. Canada has provided no industry-specific bailout to airlines.

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