Travel trade associations skeptical of airlines implementing the directive
By Krupa Vora | Mumbai
The much-debated issue of refund of airline tickets has been now brought to the forefront by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) by issuing a Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) letter to the airlines. As per this CAR dated May 22, 2008 all scheduled and non-scheduled carriers will now be subject to refund of airline tickets with immediate effect. The CAR letter has been issued in public interest as per Rule 133A of the Aircraft Rules and Ministry of Civil Aviation Order no. AV 13030/105/2007- DT dated May 12, 2008.
Commenting on the same, Kanu Gohain, Director General of Civil Aviation, said, “The issue of refund of tickets by airlines has become a major source of grievance amongst airline passengers. A large number of complaints are regularly received which revolve around delay in refund of unused tickets, the amount which is refunded by the airlines against cancelled tickets and the policy of not to refund the ticket amount but to adjust against tickets to be purchased by the passenger for the future travel in the same airline that too valid for a limited period of time.”
However, the travel trade associations who have been pushing for the resolution of this issue over a long period of time, have been skeptical with regards to the airlines implementing the CAR issued. Speaking to TravelBiz Monitor, P Sampat Kumar, National Managing Committee Member and Chairman Legal and Industry Affairs, TAFI, said that, “The association welcomes the initiative taken by Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) via DGCA to issue a directive to domestic airlines to forthwith look into the reasonable cancellation charges levied by them and the process of refund within the given time frame. TAFI also has taken note of DGCA directive informing airlines not to reflect charges, surcharges, fees as taxes giving the traveller an impression that it is government imposed. This also vindicates TAFI’s stand all along that all operational cost must be reflected in the fare.”
C V Prasad, President, TAAI stated that, “This move from DGCA was long pending, however the concern is whether the airlines will implement and follow the CAR issued by the DGCA.” To make it more clear, the letter mandates that passengers are entitled to full refund of all charges which are denoted as tax or surcharge. By implication the cancellation charges can only be levied on the fare component of the ticket. To make this clearer, if we have a ticket with a basic fare of Rs 100 and other charges of Rs 2,750, the entire Rs 2,750 will have to be refunded to the passenger in case of a cancellation.
Source : TravelBizMonitor.com