The Civil Aviation Ministry (MoCA) on Wednesday criticized the airline companies for defaulting on refunds to passengers over flight tickets booked and cancelled during the nationwide lockdown in 2020.
Last year, the Civil Aviation Ministry had said the passengers who had booked flight tickets during the first phase of lockdown for travel up to May 3, 2020, must get a full refund from the airlines without any cancellation charges if they ask for it. In October 2020, the Supreme Court had directed refund of air tickets, domestic and international, for travel during the lockdown period from March 25, 2020, to May 24, 2020, within three weeks from the date of the cancellation of flights.
A meeting was held by MoCA with representatives of airlines in connection with refund of credit shells of passengers. An official was quoted by ANI saying, "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."
A spokesperson for SpiceJet said, "Refunds are governed by the order of the Supreme Court and we are adhering to those directions. SpiceJet had written to all its travel partners and agents in March 2021 to share details of pending credit shell PNRs so that the airline can immediately reverse the credit shell amount back to the agency ID."
A spokesperson of Air India said."Air India is committed to processing its pending refund claims expeditiously. Dissemination of information regarding refunds is already initiated. Air India has cleared close to Rs 1000 Crore from 1st April 2020 till date in India. We are also addressing queries related to refunds from passengers through our social media platforms."
Meanwhile, on March 31, the Global airlines body International Air Transport Association (IATA) had requested Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and his Ministry to suspend the planned increase in aviation security fee (ASF) for domestic and international passengers as it will be detrimental to the aviation industry's recovery efforts.
(With ANI Inputs)