Supreme Court on Sunday (September 06) was informed by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) that tickets booked by passengers in domestic and international carriers for air travel between March 25 to May 3, 2020, which was the first two phases of lockdown, will be “fully refunded.”
“Non-refund of air tickets booked during lockdown and creation of involuntary credit shell by airlines is a violation of Civil Aviation Requirements and provisions of the Aircraft Rules of 1937,” DGCA told SC, according to reports.
Earlier, SC had issued a notice to Centre and DGCA on a plea seeking full refund of tickets for flights cancelled due to coronavirus-induced lockdown in the country.
On 12 June according to a Mint report, SC bench had asked the Centre and airlines to file a reply on the issue within three weeks. The bench had also proposed that airlines provide a credit shell with a two-year validity against flight bookings that were cancelled during the lockdown.
The top court had directed the civil aviation ministry to schedule a meeting with airlines and devise modalities to make refunds to passengers.
Moreover, in April, Centre had asked airlines to refund full fares, without imposing cancellation charges, to those who booked tickets during the first lockdown from 25 March to 14 April for travel between 25 March and 3 May.
The ministry has asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to ensure airlines comply with its directive.
Airlines had since the first week of April resumed bookings for travel after 14 April anticipating that the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of covid-19 would be lifted. Once the lockdown was extended, airlines deferred the resumption of flights.
Meanwhile, the Central government on 31 August extended the ban on international commercial passenger flights to and from India till September 30, barring exceptions mentioned by the government.
Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since 25 March in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Domestic flight operations were allowed to resume from 25 May, albeit with a limited capacity, after a gap of two months.