Domestic Flights Latest News: The lockdown period witnessed a spike in the cancellation of flights — not only when the countrywide lockdown was imposed on March 25, but also as several states are reimposing fresh lockdown and are barring entry of several flights from specific locations. The Supreme Court has asked the Centre and the DGCA to respond to a plea seeking directions to airlines to refund the full amount of tickets for such flights. Also Read - Domestic Flights Latest News: More Than 5 Million Passengers Flew Since Resumption of Air Travel in India
For example, the West Bengal government has banned flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Nagpur and Ahmedabad till July 19. Several tickets have been cancelled with no clarity on whether they would be rescheduled as there are chances that the ban on the incoming flights may get extended — now that the West Bengal state government has tightened the restrictions in the containment zones and imposed a full lockdown starting from July 9. Also Read - Domestic Flights: Planning Your Domestic Air Travels? Keep These Quarantine Guidelines, Health Protocols in Mind
The Air Passengers Association of India filed a plea before the Supreme Court on the issue of flight tickets cancellation as a whole (not restricted to Kolkata flights) and said that the airlines are resorting to the mechanism of credit shell. Using this credit shell, the passengers can book their flights with the same airlines in the future — in one year. This is a mechanism deployed by the cash-strapped airlines to retain their flyers. But this is an illegal imposition on the unwilling customers, the association said in its plea. Also Read - Flying to Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru? Check State-wise Quarantine Rules of Unlock 3
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan issued notices to the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) seeking their replies on the plea.
On April 16, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had directed all airlines to refund the full amount collected for tickets booked during first lockdown period from March 25 to April 14, and also where a refund was sought by passengers against booking being cancelled.
However, the airlines are following arbitrary rules regarding the refund. And the rules specified that the tickets being cancelled during the lockdown period will be refunded. Now that officially there is no lockdown period and the second phase of the unlocking has begun, there is no clarity on what will happen to tickets being cancelled now.
People may need the money lying as a credit shell for some immediate purpose, the plea said.
(With Agency Inputs)