The Supreme Court asked the Centre to clarify whether it is willing to give complete refund of air tickets booked for travel during the COVID-19 lockdown, as reported by The Economic Times. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan referred to a recent affidavit filed before it by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) saying that ticket booked for travel during the lockdown period will be refunded.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the government has proposed refund of amount for tickets booked during the COVID-19 lockdown for domestic or international travel within the lockdown period and they have tried to ensure that airlines don't suffer due to this.
Mehta said the proposal for ticket refund has to be approved by the apex court.
The top court was hearing a plea which has raised the issue of air ticket refund owing to cancellation of flights due to COVID-19 induced lockdown which had commenced from March 25.
The DGCA, in its affidavit filed recently in the top court, has said that full refund shall be provided by airlines immediately for tickets booked during the COVID-19 lockdown for domestic or international travel within the lockdown period.
It has said that for all other cases, the airlines shall make all endeavors to refund the collected amount to the passenger within 15 days.
During the hearing conducted through video-conferencing on Wednesday, Mehta said that there are three categories and for domestic travel ticket, every airline has to refund which is irrespective of the date.
On June 12, the top court, while hearing a PIL filed by NGO 'Pravasi Legal Cell', had asked the Centre, the DGCA and the airlines to discuss and work out modalities for full refund of tickets for domestic and international flights which were cancelled following the COVID-19 lockdown.
The aviation regulator, in its affidavit, has said that if airlines are not able to refund the amount on account of financial distress, they shall provide a credit shell equal to the amount of fare collected and this shall be issued in the name of the passenger who has booked the ticket for domestic travel directly or through an agent including online platforms.