Airlines yet to refund cancellation charges

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Airlines aren’t giving full refund on cancelled tickets, despite the aviation ministry and the regulator asking them to consider waiver of the fee for cancellation and modification of tickets in view of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Airlines are only providing waiver of date-change fee but not offering a refund for cancellations or destination change, among others, travel industry insiders said.

The aviation ministry, on March 9, had sent an email to airlines asking them to provide refunds. “In view of the evolving global situation related to Covid-19 … you are requested to consider waiving cancellation charges, modification charges, etc., to mitigate the difficulties faced by the passengers,” the ministry said, adding: “Such passenger-oriented actions would help the airline retain the confidence of their customers.”

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation had issued a circular on March 12, asking airlines to do the same. “In the current scenario, it would be appropriate if airlines support their passengers in this tough time by waiving cancellation and reschedule charges or by providing any other incentive,” the circular read.

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Airlines, however, remain defiant. “These are difficult times and cancellation numbers are huge and there is no way airlines can refund all of it. We do not have that kind of money to process refund,” said an airline executive, who did not want to be identified.

Government officials admitted that airlines were not providing cancellation fee waiver but added that the government might not act. “It is probably not the best time in view of the financial problems airlines are facing due to Covid-19,” said a senior government official, who did not want to be named.

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Also Read, DGCA Circular: Airlines Ticket Cancellation/Reschedule due to Covid-19

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