The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has fined Air Transat (TS, Montréal Trudeau) CAD295,000 (USD232,000) for holding passengers for several hours onboard planes on the tarmac of Ottawa Int'l airport.

CTA has established that Air Transat violated its own rules, which stipulate that after 90 minutes of tarmac delay passengers can be disembarked. It also did not provide adequate snacks and drinks to the passengers.

"The CTA also found that the air carrier was not relieved of its obligations to passengers simply because events beyond its control required diversion of the flights to Ottawa or because the actions of other parties contributed to the length of the delays," the Agency said in a statement.

The carrier has also been ordered to cover all the out of pocket expenses of its passengers incurred due to the delay, to change its procedures and training regarding deplaning passengers and to tighten the definition of force majeure. The amount of the penalty can be reduced by compensation provided directly to the passengers, excluding the refund of out of pocket expenses.

The incidents in question happened on July 31, 2017, and included flights TS157 from Brussels National and TS507 from Rome Fiumicino, both operated with A310-300s. Both flights were originally scheduled to arrive at Montréal Trudeau but were diverted to Ottawa due to bad weather. In total, some twenty flights were diverted on this day from Montreal and Toronto Pearson.

After arrival at Ottawa, passengers were held in each of the planes for nearly six hours. The incident received wide public and media attention as some of the passengers called in emergency services. CTA started the investigation on its own initiative two days later. The airline and the airport operator each blame each other for the delays.