Coronavirus lockdown | Decision to allow airlines to accept bookings from April 14 sharply cricitised

A file picture of planes parked at airport in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

A file picture of planes parked at airport in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

Consumers could lose a lot of money without clarity on end of lockdown, warns aviation advisory firm

The government’s decision to allow airlines to accept bookings from April 14, 2020 without any clarity on over the end of the lockdown on that day, has evoked sharp criticism.

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CAPA Advisory, a leading aviation consulting firm, has asked the government to immediately review the decision, or else consumers would lose a lot of money as happened in the past with Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways.

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“The decision to allow opening of advance bookings from April 14, without a decision on the lifting of the lockdown and the likely structure of the transition period post the lockdown needs to be immediately reviewed as it is unfair to consumers,” Kapil Kaul, CEO and Director, CAPA Advisory said.

‘Only operating sectors’

“As and when lockdown is lifted and the structure of the transition period is known, MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation) should only allow reopening of the bookings on the sectors that will be operated by Indian airlines during transition, and not the entire network,” he added.

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“The closure of Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways has already resulted in massive losses to passengers as refunds could not be processed,” he said.

Air India is the only airline from India that is not accepting bookings before April 30, 2020.

‘Funds locked’

Mr. Kaul further said, “As of now, significant funds of the passengers are already locked with Indian carriers as a result of advance bookings prior to the lockdown. The decision to allow bookings post April 14 without any decision on the lifting of the lockdown will increase the risk [of losses to passengers], which needs to be avoided.”

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He said giving credit vouchers for all advance bookings prior to the lockdown was expected and is reasonable, but not for bookings after April 14.

Anticipating resumption of flight operations in India, a large number of people have booked air tickets in private airlines to return to their homes and for other reasons. However, the government is considering extending the lockdown further. In this case, flight operations would not be possible.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 11:32:05 PM |

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