COVID-19: SC asks Centre to spell out modalities for air ticket refund

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 23

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to clarify the modalities for refund of air tickets to passengers and travel agents for flights cancelled during COVID-19 lockdown.

Dissatisfied by the Centre’s affidavit, a Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan asked it to file a fresh affidavit spelling out the modalities of refund by Friday.

The Bench – which is seized of PILs seeking air tickets refund for flights cancelled due to COVID-19 lockdown – posed several questions to the Centre and Directorate General of Civil Aviation regarding refund.

If a ticket was booked through a travel agent, the refund voucher would be given to the agent or the passenger, the Bench asked solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

If a travel agent booked a ticket for a passenger and if refund was granted to the passenger then what happens to the agent, it sought to know.

Mehta said the Centre would file a better affidavit with regard to the modalities of refund of tickets booked for flights which were cancelled as the instant affidavit was poorly drafted on this aspect.  

On September 9, the top court had asked the Centre to clarify whether it was willing to give complete refund of air tickets booked for travel during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The DGCA had earlier told the top court that full refund shall be provided by airlines immediately for tickets booked during the COVID-19 lockdown for domestic or international travel within the lockdown period.

If airlines were not able to refund on account of financial distress, they shall provide a credit shell equal to the amount of fare collected and this shall be issued in the name of the passenger who has booked the ticket for domestic travel directly or through an agent including online platforms, the DGCA had said.

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