Refunding ticket cancellations: SC seeks response from Centre, airlines in three weeks

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on June 12, 2020 Published on June 12, 2020

A petition was filed by the TAFI seeking directives for full refunds from airlines on cancellation of bookings due to Covid-19 lockdown

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Centre to respond to a plea seeking directives from the government to airlines for a full refund on cancellation of ticket bookings owing to the lockdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic as per reports.

A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan has asked the Centre and the airlines to file their response to the plea within three weeks, LiveMint reported. The bench also proposed that the airlines can provide a credit shell with the validity of two years instead of a short period on tickets that were cancelled due to the lockdown.

A senior advocate representing the airlines had submitted a response that airlines had suffered a massive revenue loss owing to the lockdown. Airlines have taken a $60 billion hit globally due to pandemic, he had submitted as per the report.

According to previous reports, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) last month had said that each day of 2020 will add $230 million in losses to the global aviation industry. The IATA had further urged the Indian government to support airlines in India stating that the Indian aviation industry will likely suffer a 47 per cent decline in passengers while revenues will be $11 billion less than last year. Three million jobs could be at risk, the global industry body had added.

The apex court has directed the Civil Aviation Ministry to schedule a meeting with the airlines and come up with a solution to provide a refund to passengers. The court will hear the case after three weeks.

The directions were issued in response to a writ petition filed by the Travel Agents Federations of India (TAFI) seeking government directives on a refund from airlines on cancellation of bookings amid Covid-19.

“Earlier we had intervened in a petition filed by Pravasi Legal Cell, which is an NGO. However, on Friday, June 5, 2020, we filed a sole petition in the Supreme Court against MoCA and DGCA. Refunds have become a contentious issue, and the matter has become even more complicated with the resumption of domestic flights. Policies are not stable, and our credibility as travel agents is at stake,” Pradip Lulla, President, TAFI had said as quoted by TravelBizMonitor.

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Published on June 12, 2020
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