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Air Transat says many customers won't see refunds until January

Air Transat aircrafts are seen on the tarmac at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Thousands of Air Transat customers in western Canada are still waiting for refunds more than a month after the airline cancelled their flights.

In July, the company scrapped all routes heading south from western Canada and told customers in an email they would receive refunds.

However, a service rep with the airline tells 660 NEWS many refunds won’t be processed until January — six months after the flights were cancelled.

President of the group Air Passenger Rights Gabor Lukacs said the airline is supposed to refund money within 30 days.

“Airlines cannot hold on to passengers’ money once the flight has been cancelled. The law has been very clear.”

RELATED: Cancelled flights require refunds, argues air passenger rights group

Lukacs believes the struggling airline may be using passengers money for short-term cash flow.

“Air Transat is simply trying to steal the public’s money and try to use it as an interest-free loan for its operations and it’s wrong. It’s not their money, it’s the passengers’ money.”

Air Transat won’t say how many customers are affected, only that it will take months to refunds thousands of cancelled airfares.

The Montreal-based airline is not the only company facing complaints about refunds.

Lukacs said Air Canada’s refusal to offer refunds amounts to systematic fraud.

“It’s not a question of financial difficulty. Their books indicate they have plenty of money. We are not talking about compensation for not being able to travel. Simply, you bought a car, they weren’t able to deliver the car, you get back your money.”

Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation said Air Canada was the target of 1,705 refund complaints out of 10,415 filed against non-U.S. airlines in the month, the second-highest for May.

– with files from NEWS 1130 and The Canadian Press