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Canada needs to establish seat-size standards for commercial airlines: advocate

An Air Canada jet takes off from Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Enfield, N.S. on Thursday, March 8, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

HALIFAX – An airline passenger advocate says Canada should look at establishing seat-size standards for commercial airlines.

Gabor Lukacs was reacting to an attempt by American Sen. Charles Schumer to require the U.S. government to establish seat-size standards.

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Lukacs says such standards are needed on Canadian flights, as cramming too many people onto a plane poses safety risks and infringes on passenger comfort.

He says if too many passengers are on a plane at once, not everyone could get out of the aircraft during an emergency in the same amount of time.

The Halifax-based Lukacs says creating standards that apply to all commercial airlines would bring Canada in line with other jurisdictions, such as the European Union.

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The U.S. also does not have federal limits on how close an airline’s row of seats can be or how wide an airline’s seat must be.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, says he will add an amendment to a bill that is pending before Congress that would require the agency to set the seat-size guidelines.

A vote is expected in March.

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