Guardian Law Group has filed a class action lawsuit against the Calgary Airport Authority for allegedly giving a portion of its airport improvement fees to airlines and spending on improvements at Springbank airport, without notifying flyers of what their fees are being used for.
The airport started charging the improvement fee in 1997. The fee currently being levied is one of the highest fees in the country at $30 for passengers departing from Calgary (Vancouver charges $20, Ottawa charges $23, Halifax charges $25, and Toronto charges $25).
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 4%, of the fee from every ticket goes toward airlines, documents shared by the group Air Passenger Rights found.
The lawsuit alleges that this information is not disclosed to flyers at any point. The lawsuit also alleges that “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 travelers,” And 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.