- DGCA passes detailed airline ticket refund guidelines
- This was done after the verdict from the Supreme Court
- Refund will be on the flights cancelled amid the COVID-19 lockdown
- Basing on the court order, DGCA has categorised passengers in 3 categories
Indian Aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has issued detailed guidelines regarding the refund of the ticket price for the flights which were cancelled amid the lockdown imposed in India to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus.
The guidelines were laid down 6 days after the Supreme Court of India directed that a full and immediate refund needs to be handed to the passengers for the air tickets which were cancelled between March 25 and May 24.
Not a single domestic passenger flights operated in the country in this period.
The apex court of the country, on 1st of October, had also passed the directions about the refund and credit shell formation for the bookings as well as the cancellations done during the other time periods around the lockdown.
Based on the order passed the by Supreme Court, the DGCA has categorised passengers in three categories:
- Passengers who booked tickets during lockdown for travel during the Iockdown i.e. from 25th Mar 2020 to 24th May 2020
- Passengers who booked tickets any time prior to lockdown but the journey up to 24th May 2020 and cancelled due to COVID-19.
- Passengers who booked ticket anytime but for Journey after 24th May 2020.
The DGCA has said that the passengers who belong to the first category must be given a full refund by the airline concerned for the tickets which were cancelled.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that the airlines need to “make all endeavours” to refund the passengers belonging to the second category within 15 days.
The DGCA added, “If on account of financial stress, any airline/airlines are not able to do so, they shall provide a credit shell equal to the amount of fare collected (to the passenger),”.
The passengers will then be able to use the credit shells to book any ticket by March 31, 2021, the DGCA claimed.
Passengers belonging to the third category will be given a refund in accordance with the existing DGCA rules.
Coming to the international travel
-Even for international travel when the tickets have been booked on an Indian carrier and the booking is ex-India, if the tickets have been booked during the lockdown period for travel within the lockdown period, an immediate refund shall be made.
-If the tickets are booked for international travel on a foreign carrier and the booking is ex-India during the lockdown period for travel within the lockdown period, a full refund shall be given by the airlines and said amount shall be passed on immediately by the agent to the passengers, wherever such tickets are booked through agents. In all other cases, the airline shall refund the collected amount to the passenger within a period of 3 weeks.
The scheduled domestic passenger flight services resumed in India after a long gap of 60 days, on the 25th of May. However, the scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in the country since the 23rd of March.
Having said this, the special international passenger flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat mission since May and under air bubble arrangements formed between several countries since July.