Aviation regulator DGCA issued detailed guidelines on Wednesday regarding a refund of the ticket price for the flights cancelled amid the coronavirus-triggered lockdown. The guidelines came six days after the Supreme Court directed that a full and immediate refund should be given to passengers for the air tickets cancelled between March 25 and May 24. No domestic passenger flights operated in the country in this period.
The top court had, on October 1, also passed directions about the refund and credit shell formation for the bookings and cancellations done during the other time periods around the lockdown.
Based on the court order, the DGCA categorised passengers in three categories -- those who booked tickets between March 25 and May 24 for travelling within the same period, those who booked tickets prior to March 25 but the travel period was till May 24, those who booked tickets anytime but for a journey post May 24.
The regulator said the passengers belonging to the first category must be given a full refund by the airline concerned for the tickets cancelled.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the airlines should "make all endeavours" to refund the passengers belonging to the second category within 15 days.
"If on account of financial stress, any airline/airlines are not able to do so, they shall provide a credit shell equal to the amount of fare collected (to the passenger)," it added
The passengers can then use the credit shells to book any ticket by March 31, 2021, the DGCA noted.
Those belonging to the third category will be given a refund in accordance with the existing DGCA rules.
The Indian aviation industry has been hit hard due to the coronavirus pandemic and as a result, all airlines in the country have opted for cost-cutting measures such as layoffs, leave without pay for the employees etc.
Scheduled domestic passenger flight services resumed in the country after a gap of two months on May 25. Currently, airlines are permitted to operate only up to 60 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic flights.
Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in the country since March 23. However, special international passenger flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat mission since May and under air bubble arrangements formed with various countries since July.