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Govt asks airlines operators to refund tickets cancelled due to lockdown last year

NEW DELHI: The ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) expressed displeasure on Wednesday with airline companies for failing to issue refunds to passengers for flight tickets that were booked for travel during the lockdown last year but were subsequently cancelled.

Following a recommendation from the civil aviation ministry and the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA), the Supreme Court in October directed airlines to refund passengers the cost of tickets for flights that were cancelled between March 25 and May 24 of last year.

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On Wednesday, the MoCA Secretary presided over a meeting with airline representatives to discuss the refund of passenger credit shells. A credit shell is a credit note issued in the event of a cancelled PNR that can be applied to a future booking by the passenger.

According to sources, the MoCA Secretary presided over a meeting today with all of the airline companies to discuss credit shell refunds, expressing disappointment with those who did not refund the money. GoAir and IndiGo have sent the ministry their assurance that they would refund all credit shells to passengers.

After the March 31 deadline, the Supreme Court of India ordered MoCA to clear all credit shells and refund the passengers.

In March 2021, SpiceJet sent a letter to all of its travel partners and agents, asking them to share details of pending credit shell PNRs so that the airline could refund the credit shell sum to the agency right away.

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Passengers are yet to receive full refunds from national carrier Air India. According to sources, Air India needs to clear credit shells for around 5 lakh 25,000 passengers, totaling around 2000 crore.

In order to receive a refund of credit shells, MoCA must file an affidavit in the Supreme Court. The Secretary of the MoCA expressed his disappointment with the airline companies’ response in the meeting about refunds on cancelled tickets.

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