June 12th, 2024

Canada Border Services Agency apologizes to airline passengers stuck in Newfoundland

By The Canadian Press on June 11, 2024.

A Canada Border Services Agency member looks on before a ceremony at the legislature in Victoria, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

GANDER, N.L. – The Canada Border Services Agency has apologized to the more than 250 passengers aboard a diverted United Airlines flight who were forced to spend 12 hours inside an airport in central Newfoundland after CBSA officers failed to process them.

The federal agency issued a statement saying Flight 915 was en route from the Washington, D.C., area to Paris when it was diverted to Gander International Airport at 1 a.m. local time because of a mechanical issue.

The agency says crew members aboard the airliner were processed by the CBSA officers on duty.

The CBSA says a request was made to clear all passengers, but the request was “not appropriately actioned.”

As a result, the passengers had to spend the night in the international lounge until another United Airlines aircraft arrived at 2:45 p.m. to take them to their destination.

United Airlines issued a brief statement today saying the Boeing 777-200 aircraft that was diverted to Gander was carrying 268 passengers and 12 crew members.

At the time of the diversion, the union representing more than 9,000 CBSA workers was threatening to go on strike this coming Friday, but a tentative agreement with the federal government was confirmed today.

CBSA spokesperson Rebecca Purdy said the decision Monday not to clear the passengers was not related to the looming strike.

Meanwhile, the CBSA said it will make sure “appropriate action is taken in a timely manner” when other flights are diverted to Gander, and it issued a public apology.

“The CBSA extends its sincere apologies to the passengers for any inconveniences experienced,” the agency said in a statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 11, 2024.

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