IATA Agents Association of India ( IAAI ) National Committee and it's an innovative initiative - IAAI Air Passenger Rights Forum jointly urged MoCA to direct Airlines, to give the full refund and, or provide the ease of rescheduling validity for 365 days, for tickets issued on or before March 24.
Biji Eapen, President, The IAAI said “The latest Office Memorandum ( F.No.AV-29011/27/2020-DT ) issued by MoCA on April 16, regarding refund of Air tickets issued during the lockdown period did not mention about the refund of tickets booked and issued on or before March 24 and also silent about the bookings for travel beyond May 3, 2020.
Full refund for passengers booked air tickets from March 25 to April 14 and up to May 3. It is unfair and discriminatory not to have a similar conductive refund policy for passengers who have booked tickets much before but could not travel during the period from the advisories on the travel ban, cancellations, and total lockdown.
Air Passengers in India, anticipating the resumption of Flight operations are booking and issuing Air Tickets in Airlines, since Airlines retained bookings open for travel, with uncertainty on the lockdowns.
To safeguard the Consumer Rights of Air Passengers and to secure their hard-earned money paid for Air Tickets, the IATA Agents Association of India ( IAAI ) National Committee and IAAI's innovative initiative - IAAI AIR PASSENGER RIGHTS FORUM jointly represented by Mr. Biji Eapen – President IAAI, requested Ministry of Civil Aviation:
1) To direct Airlines to give the full refund or provide the convenience of rescheduling of Travel dates by utilizing total Ticketed Value / EMD as credit valid for 365 days, to be used for the same Class and Sector without any Fees or Fare difference, for the tickets issued on or before March 24 for Flights that were supposed to operate and canceled due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 advisories, travel ban and lockdowns
2) MoCA to instruct all Airlines to accept bookings and issue tickets for travel beyond May 3 2020, with a necessary condition of a full refund for tickets in the event of Flights not operated until the Government of India officially lift the ban on operation of all Domestic and International Flights.
Consequently, we have wrote to SmtUshaPadhee, Joint Secretary to the Government of India, and Shri Arun Kumar, Director General to kindly review the situation, enable to permit refund process for tickets issued before 24th March,2020.
The Indian Airline industry is going through its gravest crisis and experiencing a critical liquidity crisis. This state of affairs will result in the risk of financial losses to Air Passengers, as they are going to face the problem of Airlines withholding Ticket refunds or issuing Credit Vouchers instead of refunds.
Besides, recent media reports state that India's Airline companies are estimated to be holding about INR 6,000 Crore from refund payment to Passengers. Air Deccan becomes the first Airline closure in the Indian Aviation sector since COVID-19 Travel Shutdown. Moreover, the history of Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways closure has already caused massive losses to Passengers as refunds not paid so far.”