Ottawa airport firing Flair and Sunwing ground crews

The Ottawa airport is terminating its agreement with a company that handles the ground crews for Sunwing and Flair airlines after what it calls a “degradation of service levels.”

The Ottawa International Airport Authority said in a statement Wednesday it has “observed a degradation of service levels associated with ground-handling activities for Sunwing and Flair airlines” in recent weeks.

Both airlines contract Menzies, a third-party ground handling firm, for aircraft marshalling and baggage handling, the statement said.

“Following written warnings to Menzies, the issues reached untenable levels in the past week, leading the OIAA to provide Menzies with a 30-day notice of termination of its operating license at the airport,”

The notice was issued on Monday, the airport authority said.

“The service levels passengers from both airlines have had to endure do not meet the customer experience threshold the OIAA is committed to facilitate.”

A spokesperson for Flair Airlines said the decision won’t impact its operations.

“The termination action was taken by Ottawa International Airport. This will have no impact on Flair’s operations,” the spokesperson said. “We work closely in cooperation with our airport partners and will continue to provide low-fare flying from Ottawa.

“Ottawa International Airport will contract a new baggage handling/ground crew.”

Menzies is a global logistics company that operates in more than 250 locations across 58 countries.

Major issues for travellers

The news comes after a number of Sunwing and Flair passengers were delayed several hours at the Ottawa airport Tuesday due to a baggage issue.

Passengers travelling with Flair Airlines to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Were supposed to leave just after 4 p.m. Tuesday, but the plane took off five hours late.

Passengers said they weren’t given many details about the delay, other than that it was caused by a baggage issue.

“I’m here with my wife and my father-in-law, who’s 87 years old,” traveller Bob Gagnon said from the airport. “They tell you to come several hours early, right? So we did that. We’ve been here for a long time.”

Flair Airlines said in an email that the delay was due to airport equipment and the problem was not within the airline’s control, adding passengers may be eligible for compensation.

Passengers travelling with other airlines also reported baggage delays Tuesday night.

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