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Photo: Steve Russell/Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Tuesday it is seeking a $25.5 million fine from Air Canada for failing to provide timely refunds to thousands of customers.

Why it matters: The COVID-19 pandemic forced airlines to cancel or delay flights, causing refund requests to spike.

What they're saying: Since March 1, 2020, the DOT's Office of Aviation Consumer Protection received more than 6,000 complains from Air Canada customers who "describe having been denied refunds for flights that the carrier cancelled or significantly changed," the agency said.

  • "When a carrier cancels or significantly changes a flight to or from the United States, the airline is responsible for providing refunds, upon request, according to U.S. law. Airlines have seven days to refund passengers from the date of the request for flights purchased with a credit card and twenty days for flights purchased with cash."
  • "In the complaint filed with the ALJ, OACP asserts that Air Canada has committed a minimum of 5,110 violations and passengers waited anywhere from 5 months to 13 months to receive refunds."

The other side: Air Canada says the DoT's claim "has no merit," and the airline "will vigorously challenge the proceedings," according to Reuters.

Zoom out: The DoT said it is also investigating refund-related practices with other airlines, including U.S. companies.

  • Air Canada can contest the potential fine.

Go deeper

United Airlines says 97% of U.S. employees fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Photo: James D. Morgan via Getty Images

United Airlines said Wednesday that over 97% of its U.S.-based employees are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a company memo obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: United announced in August that it would require its 67,000 U.S.-based employees to get vaccinated by Sept. 27 or face termination. It's one of several airlines that set vaccine requirements even before President Biden issued his own vaccine mandate for employers with over 100 workers.

Virginia energy giant quietly boosts McAuliffe

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks during a campaign rally on Oct. 15 in Henrico, Virginia. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe has sworn off money from the Richmond company Dominion Energy. But the utility has found more subtle ways to back McAuliffe's gubernatorial bid, records show.

Driving the news: Dominion's political action committee has donated $200,000 to a murky political group called Accountability Virginia PAC, which has been running ads attacking Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin.

3 hours ago - Technology

Race and technology in America

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The technology industry is famously determined to change the world — but its efforts to diversify its workforce and remove bias from its products haven't changed nearly enough.