Full refund for flights booked before lockdown; Centre urges Supreme Court to allow airlines time till March 31, 2021

Full refund for flights booked before lockdown; Centre urges Supreme Court to allow airlines time till March 31, 2021

The Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has sent an affidavit to the Supreme Court, citing that airlines should be given time till March 2021 to refund passengers. The affidavit also favours issuing credit to passengers, which can be used by passengers till March 2021; if the same is not implemented, a direct refund has to be made.

All the passengers who booked their flight tickets between March 25 to May 3 this year in domestic/international airlines will get a full refund; this was announced previously. However, the Central government has asked for some time (till March 31, 2021) to make the full refunds considering the poor condition of the aviation sector.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and DGCA sent the proposal to the Supreme Court on Sunday. The Ministry also said that if any airline is not in the condition to refund the fares, passengers will receive a credit shell up to March 31.

The affidavit filed by the DGCA stated, “By the end of March, 2021, the airlines shall refund cash to the holder of the credit shell.”

There’s another provision wherein if a passenger does not want to travel, he/she can transfer the credit shell to any one they want. In case the amount is not used by the passenger, he/she will get interest every month and the same will be refunded after March 31, 2021, which is a major development.

Prospective flyers, who had booked their flight tickets before the COVID-19 triggered lockdown, had approached the Supreme Court seeking a full refund. The Supreme Court, after reviewing the PIL, regarding refund of tickets had seeked Centre’s views on the issue.

On June 12, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to come up with a workable solution, keeping interest of both the parties. A three-judge bench was created for this. After several rounds of discussions with the stakeholders and the airlines, the DGCA has proposed this solution, keeping in mind interests of passengers as well as the airlines.

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