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Refund policy not for flights originating from abroad: DGCA, Ministry in SC

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) clarified in the Supreme Court on Thursday that their refund and credit shell policy for flights cancelled during the lockdown did not cover international flights originating from abroad.

“The regulatory mechanism does not cover international flights which originate from any foreign destination... These flights are governed by the regulatory mechanism of the country of origin, irrespective of the fact whether the carrier is Indian or not... Refund of tickets/credit shells of international flights would be governed by the law of the sovereign country from where such flights originate,” the affidavit filed jointly for DGCA and the Ministry said.

The Ministry was replying to questions raised by the airlines and the petitioner, Pravasi Legal Cell, represented by senior advocate Sanjay Hegde and advocate Jose Abraham. The case is scheduled to be heard on September 25.

The affidavit clarified that neither the DGCA nor the Ministry have any role in the private arrangements made between travel agents and airlines for lump sum booking of air tickets in advance. These arrangements were made with an eye on private commercial gain. Regulators like DGCA had no role in such arrangements. The contract of purchase of such tickets did not come under the Civil Aviation Requirements (CARs).

“This lump-sum payment of money by a travel agent or a corporate house on behalf of his client to the airlines, either in advance or after availing the flight services, is not recognised as a contract of purchase of tickets under the CARs. They remain in the realm of private contract between the parties. The CARs recognizes only those tickets, which are actually issued by the airline in the name of a known and identified traveller, who is either the client of the travel agent or an employee of a corporate house,” the affidavit clarified.

Travel agents and tour operators had raised concerns over how they would be refunded for tickets they had booked in advance and in bulk for flights which were cancelled during the lockdown. The refund and credit shell proposal of the government only recommends payment of refund and opening of credit shells in the names of the passengers.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 4:26:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/refund-policy-not-for-flights-originating-from-abroad-dgca-ministry-in-sc/article32689920.ece

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