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Transport regulator orders British Airways to alter passenger compensation

MONTREAL - The Canadian Transportation Agency has ordered British Airways to improve its passenger compensation for disrupted flights, potentially bringing the carrier in line with the changes it required Air Canada to make last year.

The regulator said the London-based carrier must rewrite its policies governing the rights of passengers who are denied boarding or who face flight delays or cancellations.

Policy changes are also being required to cover damaged or delayed baggage.

The ruling, issued Friday, upheld a complaint by Halifax-based air passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs who, in the past, has successfully challenged the compensation policies of Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) and Porter Airlines.

The agency ordered British Airways to revise its policies by Feb. 17 or explain why it shouldn't apply formulas used in the United States or imposed on Air Canada.

In 2013, it ordered the Montreal-based carrier to pay between $200 and $800 in cash to bumped passengers on domestic flights, depending on the length of the delay.

In a separate decision, it was also ordered compensation be increased to $400 or $800 for flights to the European Union depending on the length of the delay.

In the United States, compensation is $650 or double the airfare for delays of less than two hours and $1,300 or four times the airfare for delays of more than two hours.

Lukacs said in a news release that the decision will help efforts to ensure that all airlines flying to and from Canada provide adequate compensation to passengers whose air travel is disrupted through no fault of their own.

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