Transport Canada must implement carry-on baggage recommendation: CUPE

The union representing Air Canada’s flight attendants is asking Transport Canada to implement the now 12-year-old Transportation Safety Board recommendation on leaving carry-on baggage behind during an emergency.

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“The recent Aeroflot crash where passengers retrieving their luggage slowed the evacuation of the on-fire aircraft is just another example of the need to strengthen the actual regulation to ensure the safety of passengers and crew,” said Wesley Lesosky, president of the Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

In its May 2017 report on the Air Canada Flight 624 that crash-landed in Halifax in March 29, 2015, the Transportation Safety Board referenced the recommendation that, “The Department of Transport requires that passenger safety briefings include clear direction to leave all carry-on baggage behind during an evacuation.”

Unfortunately, as the Transportation Safety Board noted in its analysis of the response provided by the Department, Transport Canada “plans no regulatory action that would require operators to provide this information to passengers.”

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“The federal government cannot wait for another tragedy to happen. Transport Canada must act now. At the time of the Halifax crash, all 132 passengers and 5 crew members made it out safely, but it will not always be the case if the carry-on retrieving issue is not resolved on all Canadian carriers,” said Lesosky.

Like the U.S.-based Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the Air Canada Component of CUPE is calling on Transport Canada to form a working group on developing solutions to guarantee that carry-on baggage is not a barrier to safety during evacuations.

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