India’s private airlines requested the Supreme Court on Wednesday, do not make ticket refunds mandatory, their revenues have been down and many customers have accepted their offer.
Senior attorney Arvind Datar, who represented GoAir, filed in front of a bank made up of Judges Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M. R. Shah that the airline was on the verge of collapse. Hence, it shouldn’t be mandatory to refund the passengers.
“We need funds to be able to pay,” he said, informing the Supreme Court that profits have fallen dramatically as a result of the lockdown, insisting that the airlines collapse and there are nearly 30,000 up to 40,000 employees in this area.
The Directorate-General for Civil Aviation (DGCA) has filed an affidavit with the Supreme Court stating that people who booked airline tickets during the block are entitled to an immediate refund and for tickets booked before the block by May 24th . Refunds are governed by the credit shell and incentive system.
Senior attorney Pinaki Misra, who represents Air Vistara and AirAsia, said the DGCA’s approach is “One Size Glove Fits All,” and the aviation authority cannot say airlines will have to issue a refund.
Misra argued that if passengers were happy to have accepted the airline’s offer, how could they then be forced to pay a refund.
“I can’t pay 9 percent interest on the refund amount, and if this continues, airlines may need a moratorium,” he submitted.
Attorney General Tushar Mehta, who represented the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the DGCA, explained the refund system to the bank and stated that the airlines were bound by the centre’s proposal.
He insisted that the center considered the interests of passengers and airlines and that it was the best that the center could do.
The bank said it was only about refunds and non-refunds of money for tickets booked during the lockdown period.
The Supreme Court heard a motion filed by the NGO Pravasi Legal Cell from attorney Jose Abraham, who raised the issue of airline ticket refunds during the lockdown.
The bank asked the center to clarify by Friday the modalities of reimbursement of airline tickets to passengers and travel agents in light of the cancellation of flights during the embargo.
The bank then asked Mehta about reimbursements to a travel agency that had already paid the booked tickets to the airlines. Mehta said he will file another affidavit by September 25th.