Tuesday, July 04, 2023

Go First washes its hands off

Go First passengers who had their money stuck due to cancelled flights are now facing further complications as the airline appears to have transferred the liabilities to travel agents, leaving both parties in a state of uncertainty.   

This shift has left travel agents unable to refund the passengers' money, while the latter continue to struggle to retrieve their funds.

Many travel agents have been forced to dip into their own pockets, leading to significant losses. This unforeseen issue has put them in a dire situation, leaving them questioning the lack of security provided to them by the airlines.

Bahram Zadeh, the Pune Chapter Chairman of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) highlighted the precarious position travel agents find themselves in. Zadeh emphasized that when agents sell international tickets, they must become members of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and submit a bank guarantee. This guarantee ensures that if an agent defaults, the airline can recover the money from the guarantee. However, Zadeh expressed concern over the lack of similar security measures in place for agents when airlines fail to meet their obligations, citing past instances with Kingfisher and Jet Airways.

The case of Go Air has put numerous agents in financial jeopardy, as significant amounts of money remain locked, leaving agents in a vulnerable position. Agents typically put money upfront into credit shells, which are used to facilitate bookings for their clients. If an airline suddenly ceases operations, the agents are left with substantial sums of money trapped in these shells, with no guarantee of reimbursement.

“We are sincerely looking forward for the airlines to restart operation because of lots of agents and people’s money is blocked and the second thing is I am requesting the authorities concerned to look into the method of some sort of bank guarantee some sort of security from these airlines so that in case they close the airlines, the agents’ stability is ensured,” added Bahram. 

04/07/2023 Pune Mirror

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