Travelling with Air Canada will
mean no contact with nuts, following a ruling by the Canadian Transportation
The carrier was ordered to create
nut buffer zones on all of its flights following complaints filed by Dr. Sophia
Huyer and Rhonda Nugent in 2006.
Nugent, who filed the complaint on
behalf of her daughter, Melanie, said that nuts should not be served on any
aircraft in which those with severe allergies were flying.
She also stated that there should
be in-flight announcements that requested passengers refrained from eating peanuts
or snacks with peanuts in them.
The Canadian Transportation Agency
brought in experts who said that the biggest risk would be from accidental
ingestion of nut products but this was unlikely.
“It is neither practical nor
possible to ban all substances to which any person may be allergic in a mass
transportation system, nor is it feasible to eliminate all risks,” said the
agency in its decision.
It ordered Air Canada to create a
nut-free buffer zone of a row behind and in front of the allergy sufferer in
addition to the row in which they are seated. Passengers should contact airlines
48 hours before travelling to make sure the carrier had time to seat people in
these nut-sterile areas, in which only nut-free foods will be served.
Nearby passengers will be fully
briefed on the dangers of consuming nut-filled food in the buffer zone. First
class passengers are considered to be fully protected from nuts by their pod
seat due to its size and surrounding area.
“As the next step in this process,
the carrier must now inform the Agency whether it intends to implement this appropriate
“If Air Canada chooses to do so, it
is required within 30 days of the date of this decision to submit a formal
policy on peanut and nut allergies for the Agency’s review and approval,” said
the transportation agency.
Air Canada operates flights between
Toronto and Grand Cayman. It recently reported that September load factors hit
a record 82.2 per cent. The figure represented a system-wide increase of 11.7
per cent compared to September 2009 with capacity increase of 8.4 per cent. This
figure is calculated on a consolidated basis along with Jazz Air, the regional
carrier formed by Air Canada in 2001.
“These record load factor results
are attributable to our commitment to deliver an award-winning product and to
an increased utilization of our existing fleet as we pursue strategic opportunities
in international markets,” said Calin Rovinescu, president and chief executive
officer at the airline.