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Feds 'overdue' to step in to help airlines: expert

Many airline companies have opted not to offer refunds for cancelled flights, and have used the money to help keep afloat during COVID-19 pandemic
The wing of an airplane. (via Canadian Press)

It's a problem many are facing at this point.

You booked a flight and it got cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, you want your money back, only to find the airline is only giving out travel credits.

Turns out that money might be helping to keep the industry going during these unprecedented times.

"I would consider those individuals who have bought these tickets sort of pseudo-investors in the airline industry," John Gradek, the Faculty Lecturer and Program Coordinator in Aviation Leadership with McGill University, tells The Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS.

"That money that they've put in for their future flights has been used by the airlines to sustain themselves over the last (several) weeks."

He says without that cash, some would've had significant financial considerations to deal with, and some would've filed for creditor protection.

Gradek notes we'd be in "deep trouble" if that were to happen.

"If you could ask the airline for the money, they could give it back to you," he says, "But you'll just be accelerating the bankruptcy of a number of carriers in Canada."

He believes the federal government should step in, adding "the time is long overdue" for them to acknowledge the situation.

"As much as you can run a great airline, and have great people working for you in the airline, it doesn't really matter," Gradek explains, "Canadian's are being recommended not to travel, and that's by the government."

"The government basically initiates this move not to travel.  I think it's incumbent on the government to basically kind of understand that there is financial implications for those directives, and those financial implications mean some type of bailout to the industry that's suffering if not the most, one of the most, (because) of their actions."

A House of Commons petition asking for the federal government to move on this very item has garnered over 21,000 signatures as of Friday afternoon.

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