NewLeaf Travel Co sues air passenger rights advocate for defamation

NewLeaf Travel Co. Inc. is firing back against one of its most vocal critics.

The company is suing air passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs for defamation, accusing him of undertaking “an unrelenting, aggressive and malicious attack targeted at NewLeaf and at NewLeaf’s potential and existing customers.”

The statement of claim, filed July 15 with the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, lists several statements made by Lukacs that it alleges are false and defamatory.

As a result, “NewLeaf has suffered damages in terms of loss of business and damage to its goodwill, credit, character and reputation,” according to the statement of claim.

Lukacs said in an email that he has not been served with any court papers by NewLeaf and he believes the lawsuit may be an attempt to intimidate him.

“I have not made any statement about NewLeaf that is not factual, or based on documentation or the law,” said Lukacs, adding that he plans to vigorously defend any claims against him.

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) ruled that NewLeaf is not required to hold an air licence since it’s a reseller of seats. Lukacs has filed an appeal of the CTA’s decision with the Federal Court of Appeal, arguing that NewLeaf’s status could leave its passengers stranded if it runs out of funds.

Lukacs has also asked the court to shut down NewLeaf unless it can post a $3.74-million performance bond to compensate passengers in the event it folds.

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