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Wednesday, April 21st 2021

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Air Canada now refunding vouchers, eCoupons, and points conversions, to original form of payment

Air Canada refunds

As part of the terms of the nearly $6 billion 'financial assistance package' that Air Canada agreed to with the government of Canada yesterday, they must now refund vouchers and eCoupons back to the original form of payment, upon request. This includes non-refundable tickets.

The process can apparently take 1 to 3 months 'depending on the financial institution' according to the FAQ. (Something tells me it's not the financial institution's fault that it can take up to 12 weeks).

To begin the process, go to:

From the FAQ...

Which ticket dates qualify for a refund?

Tickets with travel dates up to January 31, 2020:
- only if Air Canada cancelled your flight, and the cancellation was within Air Canada's control

Tickets with travel dates after February 1, 2020 and purchased before April 13, 2021:
- eligible for a refund whether you cancelled it, or Air Canada cancelled it.

I previously requested a refund which was declined. What do I do?

As we have announced a new refund policy, you may now be eligible for a refund.

How long do I have to submit my refund request?

Customers can request a refund online until June 12th, 2021.

Are all-inclusive Air Canada Vacations packages eligible for a refund?

Yes, but note only cancelled Air Canada Vacations packages purchased before April 13, 2021 with travel dates on or after February 1, 2020 are eligible for a refund. For more information, please visit https://vacations.aircanada.com/en/travel-info/refunds

Hey, what about Air Transat and Sunwing?

Basically, if a Canadian airline wants help from the government, they need to agree to refunds as part of the terms, likely with similar terms to what we're seeing with Air Canada now.

Sunwing for example, tapped into a $375 million loan agreement from the government back in February. As part of the terms, they had to set aside cash for pandemic related cancellations.

The latest word on Air Transat is that they're in the final stages of negotiation with the government, for about half a billion in loans.

Once these deals are finished being negotiated with the government, I imagine they will likely have similar refund terms to what we're seeing with Air Canada.

In the case of Sunwing, who has the loan already, and has set aside the cash for cancellations, negotiations involving further sector aid (federal budget announcement on April 19th?) might be the hold up.

What about WestJet and Swoop?

It's hard to say exactly what will happen with WestJet & Swoop. Swoop is a subsidiary of WestJet, and in 2019 WestJet became privately owned. They were bought by an entity with very deep pockets ($44 billion in assets).

They may not feel the need to strike exactly the same type of deal with the government as Air Canada (financial aid in exchange for what the government wants: refunds for everyone & restoration of domestic routes). WestJet has already committed to restoring domestic routes.

In response to the Air Canada deal, WestJet had this to say: "We will provide updates on its own discussions with the government of Canada at the appropriate time".

The word on the street though, is that WestJet and the government are very close to finishing whatever deal it is they are working on. I have to imagine we will be hearing something very soon now that Air Canada's deal is finished.

How much of Air Canada does the Canadian government own now ?

I believe I read yesterday that if all options were exercised, the Canadian government would own 14.1% of Air Canada shares.

Some comparisons of similar actions taken by other governments during the pandemic:

- The German government now owns 20% of Lufthansa
- The French government now owns 30% of Air France / KLM

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