Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 6
Passengers are entitled to full refund for air tickets booked throughout Lockdown 1 and a pair of throughout which air journey was banned as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre has advised the Supreme Court.
“If the tickets have been booked during the first lockdown period, i.e. 25th of March, 2020 to 14th of April, 2020 for the journeys to be undertaken in both first and second lockdown period i.e. from 25th of March, 2020 to 3rd of May, 2020, in all such cases, full refund shall be given by the airlines immediately,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation stated relating to home airways’ tickets booked immediately by the passenger with airways.
Similarly, for worldwide journey when the ticket has been booked on an Indian service and the reserving is ex-India, it stated, “If the tickets have been booked during the lockdown period for travel within the lockdown period, in all such cases full refund shall be given by the airlines immediately. This amount shall be passed on immediately by the Agent to the passengers, as the case may be.”
This was being mandated because the airways weren’t presupposed to e book such tickets throughout first and second lockdown, it added.
“For all other cases, the airlines shall all endeavor to refund the collected amount to the passenger within 15 days,” it stated.
The affidavit has been filed in response to a PIL demanding full computerized refund of cash for tickets booked for flights in the course of the COVID19 lockdown. The Supreme Court had on June 12 issued notices to the Civil Aviation Ministry and the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on the PIL filed by Pravasi Legal Cell.
However, the affidavit stated, “If on account of financial distress, if the airlines are not able to do so they shall provide a credit shell equal to the amount of fare collected. This credit shell shall be issued in the name of the passenger who has booked the ticket”.
“The passenger shall be able to consume the credit shell up to 31st March, 2021, on any route of his choice. If the passenger wants to buy a ticket of value more than the credit shell, then he can use cash to top it up. If he wants to buy a ticket of value less than the credit shell, he/she can do so and the balance amount of credit shell shall be available to him/her,” the affidavit learn.
The petitioner NGO had stated each home and worldwide airways have been violating the Ministry’s order which obliged them to completely refund the quantity for tickets cancelled on account of COVID19 lockdown.
Pointing out that as an alternative of full refund, airways have been offering a credit score shell, legitimate as much as one 12 months, the PIL had submitted that failure to refund full quantity collected for tickets owing to cancellation of flights as a result of restrictions imposed by the federal government to stop unfold of COVID19 violated DGCA’s Civil Aviation Requirement, 2008.
It had referred to the Ministry’s April 16 Office Memorandum (OM) which directed all airline operators to refund the complete quantity collected for all tickets booked in the course of the first part of the lockdown between March 25 and April 14 each for home and worldwide bookings.