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Lawsuit alleges misuse of Calgary Airport Authority’s improvement fees
Published Wednesday, December 19, 2018 6:04PM MST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 19, 2018 7:49PM MST
A class action lawsuit against the Calgary Airport Authority alleges the $30 airport improvement fee the organization collects from passengers departing Calgary International Airport is being used to fund other endeavours.
The statement of claim, filed on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 by , alleges the Calgary Airport Authority has paid, and fraudulently concealed, a percentage of the improvement fee to airlines and a portion has also been used to upgrade and maintain the Springbank Airport. The document says passengers ‘don’t see the bill, don’t participate in the process or have a say as to where or whom these fees are paid’.
The lawsuit was filed by the Guardian Law Group on behalf of a single plaintiff.
“Individually, we are not talking about large amounts of money,” explained Matthew Farrell of the Guardian Law Group. “The problem is that we are talking about large amounts of people who have been affected. This is going to be a class action and class actions are designed for the little guy to hold the big guy to account.”
The airport improvement fee was implemented at the Calgary International Airport in May 1997 and is collected in the fares of passengers departing the airport who are two years of age or older and are not connecting through Calgary with a specific timeframe.
According to the Calgary International Airport website, the fee is ‘dedicated to improvements and expansion of Calgary International Airport, necessary to keep pace with the air transportation infrastructure needs of our growing city and province’ and all expansion and improvement projects that make use of the funds are ‘subject to a consultation process with the airlines’.
According to the statement of claim, the plaintiff is seeking a judgment in an amount equivalent to all of the improvement fees the Calgary Airport Authority has collected since May 1997. An amount estimated to exceed $100 million.
None of the allegations outlined in the statement of claim have been proven in court.
In a statement issued to CTV Calgary on Wednesday, officials with the Calgary Airport Authority said the organization has not been served with the claim and, as such, is in no position to respond.
With files from CTV's Brenna Rose