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Class Action Suit re AIFs at YYC

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It will be interesting to follow this.  When we agreed to the AIFs, they were not to be ongoing for ever and certainly not to build Palaces... Regarding the fee paid to airlines, that was and I imagine still is in place to cover the costs of collecting (on behalf of the airports) the AIF fees and remitting them. Some airports tried their own collection but when they realized that there was a large cost involved, convinced the airlines to take over the collection or if the airlines were to refuse to do so, the AIFfees would simply be tacked onto the other charges that the airports levied on the airlines leaving the only way for the airlines to recover the money would be in increased Fares, so agreements were struck that the airlines would collect the fee and would be reimbursed by getting a percentage of the fees to cover their costs. Much the same as the 2 to 3% that the credit card companies charge the merchants who accept their cards as a  form of payment from shoppers.

Class action lawsuit says Calgary airport misrepresents improvement fee spending

A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Calgary Airport Authority for allegedly giving a portion of its airport improvement fees to airlines and spending on improvements at a smaller, nearby airport, without notifying flyers what their fees are being used for.

Portion of fees are unjustly given to airlines or spent improving a secondary airport, suit claims

Sarah Rieger · CBC News · Posted: Dec 18, 2018 4:42 PM MT | Last Updated: an hour ago
A class action lawsuit filed against the Calgary Airport Authority alleges it has been misrepresenting how it spends airport improvement fees. (Todd Korol/Reuters)

A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Calgary Airport Authority for allegedly giving a portion of its airport improvement fees to airlines and spending on improvements at a smaller, nearby airport, without notifying flyers of what their fees are being used for.

The airport started charging improvement fees in 1997. It currently has the highest fees in the country at $30 for passengers departing from Calgary (Toronto charges $25, and Vancouver charges $24).

Passengers are exempt from paying the fee if they have only a short stopover before a connecting flight — 24 hours for international passengers, or four hours for domestic.

In 2017, the lawsuit states, it came to the public's attention after a CBC News investigation was published that airlines are receiving a portion of the fees that are meant to go toward improving the airport.

About $1.20, or four per cent, of the fee from every ticket goes toward airlines, and the lawsuit says that's not disclosed to flyers.

"The name of these fees is mischaracterized by calling them airport Improvement fees, rather than what they really are, airport facility charges or, in the alternative, a direct tax levied on air travellers," states the class action lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in Calgary.

It accuses the airport authority of "negligently" misrepresenting or "fraudulently" concealing the purpose of the fees.

The airport authority, which manages both the Calgary International Airport and Springbank Airport, also uses a portion of the improvement fees to improve Springbank — a smaller airport west of the city that does not charge improvement fees.

Domestic passengers pay, stopovers benefit

The suit also expresses concerns that domestic passengers pay the majority of the improvement fees, yet a recent major expansion at the airport focused primarily on building a new international terminal.

"The Calgary Airport Authority … are a board of directors with little accountability and lacking in transparency, which enables them to implement payment schemes as they deem fit," the class action reads.

"It is now Calgarians and those visiting Calgary that are left holding the bag from the Calgary Airport Authority's expansion."

The representative plaintiff, Calgarian Herjinder Singh Seran, who filed the suit on behalf of all passengers who have flown out of the Calgary airport and paid the improvement fee, is seeking:

  • A judgment "estimated to be not less than $100 million" for portions of the fees used for purposes other than improving the Calgary airport.
  • An order instructing the airport not to use improvement fees on the Springbank Airport.
  • An order instructing the airport to not pay airport improvement fees to airlines.
  • A declaration that forgoing those orders constitutes an indirect tax.
  • A direction that airport improvement fees be levied on all fliers, including those who are currently exempt.
  • The appointment of an inspector to review the airport's conduct in respect to the collection and use of airport improvement fees.

The Calgary Airport Authority is a non-profit incorporated under the Regional Airports Authorities Act of Alberta.

Its website says the improvement fee is not a tax and is dedicated to improvements and expansion of the airport.

The airport authority told CBC it has yet to be served with the claim and is therefore not in a position to respond.

None of the claims has been proven in a court of law.

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Highest AIF ? I stand to be corrected but I believe Sydney has been 30 bucks for years. They have nice trucks. And again, not positive but Bathurst is 50 (!) bucks. Cash cows all.

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These AIFs are absolutely ridiculous.  Who wouldn’t love to run a business where you spend money like crazy. No need to care or be accountable to anyone, and then you get to worry about revenue at the end.  You run a monopoly so who cares.  

Im so glad it’s YYC. They **bleep** away millions and millions on that crap hole idiotic international mess, those stupid white golf cart buggies and the never ending construction, justifying their AIF. 

I hate the place so much.  Air Canada continues to get more of our business because WS forcing more connections thru YYC.  I’ll never go via that 10AM WS transborder bank ever again.

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