Wednesday, June 10, 2020

MGP urges civil aviation ministry to issue revised guidelines for ticket refunds

Mumbai: Consumer rights protection body Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP) has urged the civil aviation ministry to have a fresh look at the issue of refunds on cancelled air tickets in the wake of the government extending the lockdown thrice since May 3.
In a letter to Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday, MGP Chairman Shirish V Deshpande said that not only the lockdown period but also the pre-lockdown and extended periods need to be taken into consideration to issue revised guidelines for refund on air tickets for flights which could not operate due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The letter comes at a time when domestic airlines are not refunding cash to passengers for the flights being cancelled by the airlines themselves. The airlines are forcing passengers to accept credit vouchers for a period as long as one year in some cases. 

On April 16, the aviation ministry said passengers can ask airlines for full refund if the bookings were done during the first phase of lockdown for travel up to May 3.

However, the government did not say anything on whether full refund would be given to passengers who had booked their tickets before the lockdown for travel during the March 25-May 3 period.

"Considering the fact that lockdown was extended further from time to time till now and the advice given by the government to avoid travel wherever it is not so essential at least for a further period of six months, there is an urgent need to give a fresh look at the issue of refund on cancelled air tickets by passengers," the MGP chairman said in the letter.

Stating that it had pointed out certain anomalies in the April 16 order for immediate corrections, Deshpande said, "We regret to note that no action has been taken to remove the said anomalies as yet. In any case, the scope of the said advisory was confined to the first and second lockdown period only."
10/06/20 PTI/Outlook
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