Swoop has confirmed that it quietly introduced an Air Passenger Protection Regulation (APPR) surcharge.
As of Jan. 9, 2020, individuals pay $2.65 per traveller, per flight, "in order to maintain our ability to provide unbundled, ultra-low fares."
In a statement to PAX, Swoop said, “...The surcharge provides compensation funds for travellers experiencing irregular operations that are within the airline’s control and not related to safety under the APPR. The surcharge amount is consistent with the APPR Cost-Benefit Analysis report issued by the CTA and will enable us to comply with compensation that may be owed under APPR and keep our base fares low for all Canadians.”
For airline passenger rights activist Gabor Lukacs, the move is a political one.
"I do not believe that the charge has much to do with Swoop's business model," Lukacs told PAX. "They could have easily raised their airfares a little bit without labelling the raise this way. The message here is clearly political...Swoop appears to be only one [airline] that is so visibly thumbing its nose at the government and the public."
In response to why Swoop chose to implement a surcharge, while no other airlines appear to be doing so, Swoop says it has nothing to do with bringing in extra revenue for the company, and is strictly designed with passenger safety in mind.
“Swoop’s mandate is to be fully transparent with our travellers about all taxes and fees. Swoop can only comment on its decision to apply a surcharge and not other airlines," a spokesperson for Swoop told PAX. "The Air Passenger Protection Rights (APPR) surcharge is not designed to act as supplementary revenue for Swoop, but rather provides compensation funds for travellers experiencing irregular operations that are within the airline’s control and not related to safety, such as crew resourcing, ground handling issues, or mechanical malfunctions discovered during regular maintenance."
Swoop says that the surcharge amount is currently consistent with the APPR Cost-Benefit Analysis report issued by the Canadian Transportation Agency, and will assess the amount on an annual basis "to ensure the amount charged to travellers is appropriate.”
What are the Air Passenger Protection Regulations?
Under the new rules, in the event of a flight delay or cancellation, lost or damaged luggage, or being denied boarding, passengers can receive compensation up to a certain amount, depending on the circumstances.
Following the initial roll out, several major airlines cited a series of objections, by initially claiming that the required payments under the country's new air passenger bill of rights violate international standards and should be rendered invalid.
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