Supreme Court directs refund of air tickets during lockdown
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed refund of air tickets, domestic and international, for travel during the COVID-19 lockdown period from March 25 to May 24 within three weeks from the date of the cancellation of flights.
Accepting the Centre's proposal, the top court directed that if the tickets have been booked through an agent for travel within the lockdown period, in all such cases full refund shall be given by the airlines immediately and the amount shall be passed on immediately by the agent to the passengers.
It said, if on account of financial distress, any airline/airlines are not able to refund then they shall provide credit shell, equal to the amount of fare collected, in the name of the passenger when the booking is done either directly by the passenger or through a travel agent so as to consume the same on or before March 31, 2021.
It is open to passengers either to utilise such credit shell up to March 31, 2021 on any route of choice or transfer the credit shell to any person, including the travel agent concerned, and the airlines shall honour such a transfer, the top court said.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah said the suggestions and formulations arrived at the meeting held by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MCA), Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which are acceptable to majority stakeholders.
The top court's verdict came on a batch of petitions, including by NGOs and passengers' associations, seeking complete refund of ticket fare for the flights cancelled.