The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has asked airline companies to give refunds to travellers for air tickets booked during the 2020 lockdown. The refund for cancelled tickets during the lockdown has not reached many passengers yet. MoCA chaired a meeting recently on the refund of ticket amounts to credit shells. An ANI report informed, “MoCA Secretary has chaired the meeting today with all the airline companies regarding credit shells refund and expressed dissatisfaction towards airline companies who did not refund the money. GoAir and IndiGo have submitted their undertaking to the ministry that they have refund all the credit shells to the passengers.” The Supreme Court has ordered MoCA to look after the credit shells.
Air India Yet To Refund A Total Amount Of ₹2000 Crores
A year ago, during the lockdown, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to reply to a plea seeking airlines to refund the full amount of tickets for the flights cancelled due to COVID-19 lockdown. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan issued notices to the Ministry of Civil Aviation and DGCA asking for their responses on the same. Many airlines, which had failed to refund the ticket amounts created a ‘credit shell’ with the cancelled amount, that the passengers could use on a later date. Till now, Air India has not managed to provide refunds to all the credit shells. The airline still needs to provide refunds to around five lakh twenty-five thousand passengers, the total amount of which comes to nearly ₹2000 crores.
Not Refunding The Cancelled Ticket Amount Is A Violation Of The Civil Aviation Requirements: APAI
The Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) has filed a plea, stating that the refusal to refund the cancelled amount is a clear violation of the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR). It also added that the acceptance of ‘credit shell’ should be the sole decision of the passengers. The plea also said that the money in the ‘credit shell’ may not be of any use to the passenger who had a specific reason for booking the tickets during the lockdown. It said that a customer might need the money lying in ‘credit shell’ for urgent requirements, in these trying times.
All flights remained suspended in India from March 25, 2020 due to the nationwide coronavirus lockdown. Domestic flights resumed operations at all major airports, except Kolkata airport, on May 25. The start date of operations in Kolkata had to be deferred by three days owing to restoration work after the city was massively hit by the cyclone Amphan. On that note, here’s a peek into the new norms of flying with Vistara COO, Mr. Vinod Kannan: