Accepting the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) scheme for refund of air tickets booked prior to the lockdown, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that airlines will have to refund tickets that were cancelled due to restrictions (from March 25-May 24) without any cancellation charges within three weeks from the date of cancellation.
The airlines also have the option to create a credit shell in the name of the passenger which can be availed for travel on any route before March 31, 2021.
The judgment applies for bookings made for both domestic and international tickets during the period.
The SC Bench comprising justices Ashok Bhushan, RS Reddy and MR Shah took into consideration the recommendations of the DGCA and approved a credit shell scheme which will be valid till March 31, 2021. “…Such formulations are workable solutions in these peculiar circumstances which are prevailing in the country,” it said. “…we cannot lose sight of the present situation prevailing in the country and across the globe, ie the effect of pandemic Covid-19. It cannot be disputed that the civil aviation sector, which is one of the important sectors, is seriously affected in view of the ban imposed for operating flights,” the SC Bench said.
Directing the civil aviation ministry to issue the necessary notification in this regard, the apex court said in cases where air tickets had been booked through agents, a refund will happen through them only.
For bookings made during and for travelling during lockdown needs to be refunded immediately “as the airlines were not supposed to book such tickets”, the court said.