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When I’m out chatting to clients and industry groups about competition and advertising law, some of the most frequently asked questions after gasoline pricing relate to airline pricing – and in particular, why the “price” for flights never seems to be the actual price.

Well, as many folks that work in the competition, advertising or marketing law areas know, there has been increasing pressure recently by enforcement agencies (and a number of regulatory efforts afoot in several industries) to ensure that the advertised price is the price, the price and nothing but the price.  Period.

One such initiative is the long anticipated, but slightly slow to come into effect, reforms to airline pricing.

In this regard, late last week, the Canadian Transportation Agency announced that Canadians have two weeks (a bit less since I am writing this over the long weekend) left to comment on proposed airline price advertising regulations.

In making the announcement, the CTA said:

“There are only two weeks remaining to review and comment on the proposed regulatory amendments to the Air Transportation Regulations (ATR) pertaining to the advertisement of the price of air services.

Input received by nearly 3,600 stakeholders and Canadians who participated in the online consultation held in February informed the development of the Agency’s proposed ATR amendments.  The proposed amendments were pre-published in Part I of the Canada Gazette on July 3, 2012 to give various interested groups and individuals, as well as Canadians in general, a final opportunity to review and comment.  Comments received from interested parties by September 13, 2012 may result in changes to the proposed regulatory amendments.  It is anticipated that the final amendments will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II this winter.

The proposed amendments would require the price of an air service represented in any advertisement to: (1) be the total price, inclusive of all taxes, fees and charges that a customer must pay to obtain and complete the air service, (2) include a minimum level of description of the air service offered, including: origin and destination; whether the service is one way or round trip; [and] limitations with respect to booking or travel availability periods; and, (3) provide the customer with access to a breakdown of the taxes, fees and charges which are paid to a third party (e.g. GST/HST, departure taxes, airport fees, security fees). 

The proposed amendments would also require that consumers have access to a listing of any optional services offered by the service provider for a fee or charge, and that the price of each service be displayed using an all-inclusive price format.”

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For more information including how to comment see:

Canadians Have Two Weeks Left to Submi Comments on Air Services Price Advertising Regulation

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