Passengers stuck on airport tarmac call police for help

Andrew Cummings
August 2, 2017

By the time that they landed in Montreal 30 minutes later, the passengers had been on the flight for 15 hours.

Similar legislation has been in place in the US since 2002 and in Europe since 2005. However, due to violent thunderstorms, the aircraft had to land at Ottawa, informed the carrier, saying it was "sincerely sorry for the inconvenience [caused] it".

But opposition MPs on the transport committee studying the bill are not so sure. The CTA will try to resolve the dispute, "said Martine Maltais, spokesperson for the Canadian Transportation Agency".

Passengers complained of overheating and poor air quality. "Further, C-49 will do nothing to immediately help passengers", Block told CBC.

"It's time for the government to act instead of just lamenting these bad situations after they occur", he wrote in an email.

"However, that decision was not taken by the airline, and ultimately it is the airline that is responsible for making those decisions about whether a flight disembarks-and, in the case of an global flight, processes through Canada customs-or whether it sits and waits it out in the hopes that it can get to its final destination".

Ottawa Airport's response to a twitter user asking for an update after sitting on the sweltering plane for five hours was that it is "up to the airline to determine whether to deplane or wait it out when a flight diverts".

"The delays that affected our passengers yesterday were caused mainly by congestion on the ramp at Ottawa airport, as well as by delays in refuelling our aircraft".

"We had a door available and pull-down stairways loans in the case where the airline has made a decision to disembark the passengers, said Krista Kealey".

On the Carole Anne Meehan show, Kealey said that stairs were available for Flight 157 to use, but they never asked for them.

While the responsibility for deciding whether a flight is deplaned and processed through Canada Customs rests entirely with the airline, the Ottawa Airport has a comprehensive Customer Care Program that is ready for deployment as needed.

It appears that the captain was waiting for an opportunity to refuel before leaving Ottawa. "The police are in here and the fire department's in here and they're telling us that they can't do anything, that we just have to stay put".

At one point, she tweeted out a call for details to the Ottawa airport, but they merely responded that the next step was "up to the airline". "We need to know what their situation is".

KelownaNow reached out to Air Transat about the two flights that waited on the tarmac for several hours after being grounded in Ottawa. Although our staff tried several times to contact the aircrew through the handlers to provide further assistance, the air crew was non-communicative and did not take us up on our offers to assist further.

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