Air Canada to issue refunds to customers who did not fly after flights cancelled

Air Canada has revised its COVID-19 refund policy to cover eligible customers who bought non-refundable airline tickets or vacation packages between Feb. 1, 2020, and April 13, 2021, the company said Tuesday.

Customers who have already accepted a travel voucher or Aeroplan points instead cash will also have the option to exchange these for a refund, it said.

The refunds follow a deal between the airline and federal government, which will provide a total of $5.9 billion in aid to Canada's largest airline, including up to $1.4 billion to support the new refunds.

The airline said it has already provided $1.2 billion to customers with refundable tickets.

"Air Canada will be offering refunds to all eligible customers whether they cancelled their ticket or if their flight was cancelled by the airline," Air Canada executive vice-president Lucie Guillemette said in a statement.

She added that "customers can now submit refund requests online or through their travel agent and we are committed to processing refunds as fast as possible."

The airline will accept online refund requests until June 12 at www.aircanada.com/refund.

Air Canada has also revised booking policies for all future travel, starting Tuesday, to provide more certainty if a flight is cancelled or rescheduled by more than three hours.

All customers will have the choice of receiving a refund, an Air Canada Travel Voucher or the equivalent value in Aeroplan Points with a 65 per cent bonus, the company said in a statement.

"This new policy will provide more certainty and flexibility, so customers can book their future travel with greater confidence and we look forward to welcoming you back on board," said Guillemette, who is Air Canada's chief commercial officer.

Air Canada has committed to resume service at 13 regional airports as well as seven others through agreements with regional carriers.

As part of the package Air Canada has also agreed to cap executive compensation, maintain staffing levels and to complete previously planned aircraft purchases.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2021.

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