Refund of Air Fare during the lockdown period, suspending domestic and international flight operations Respected Mrs. Padhee
21st April 2020
Mrs. Usha Padhee
Ministry of Civil Aviation
Government of India
B-Block, Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan
Sub: Refund of Air Fare during the lockdown period, suspending domestic and international flight operations
Respected Mrs. Padhee,
Greetings from Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) !
May I draw your kind attention to your office memorandum no. F. No. AV-29011/27/2020-DT Dated 16th April 2020 on the above subject.
I would like to bring to your notice that in your above said office memorandum, you have mentioned that for the air tickets booked during the first lock down period i.e. from 25th March to 14th April for travel during the lock down 1st lock down period from 25th March to 14th April and for the 2nd lock down period from 15th April to 3rd May 2020, the airline shall refund the full amount collected without levy of any cancellation charges and the refund shall be made within a period of 3 weeks from the date of cancellation.
While we appreciate your support to the tourism industry and issuing the above office memorandum, I would like to mention that there was hardly any international and domestic bookings made during the lock down period as operation of all international and domestic airlines was closed.
The problem our members are facing with the domestic airlines is about the refund of air fare for the cancellations of air tickets booked by our members for the foreign tourists who could not visit India due to cancellation of E-Visa/Visa from different countries on different dates starting with cancellation of e-visa/visa for Chinese nationals on 1st February 2020 followed with visa cancellations for different countries with total cancellations of e-visa/visas on 13thMarch 2020. Also during the period of February and March, DGCA ordered suspension of flights from/to certain countries. During this period Covid -19 spread was also increasing globally due to which lot of restrictions were implemented by many countries and tourist movements were stopped. Our request which airlines are not understanding is that if any foreign tourist could not enter India effective 1st February 2020 onward due to suspension of visa/e-visa by the Government and suspension of international flights by Ministry of Civil Aviation, in that case if any foreign tourists who had booked domestic air ticket for travel in India and for neighbouring countries through Indian Tour Operators, should be given full refund as they could not enter India due to restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs/Ministry of Civil Aviation.
The foreign agents are threatening to take us to the court if full refund is not made to them under force majeure conditions, whereas the airlines say that this money could be used by the client later when situation is improved and in some cases a deadline of 31st July 2020 has been given to us to use the funds failing this money will be forfeited.
Madam, it is almost unlikely, that foreign tourists who has booked India tour, would re-book the tour as we do not know whether he/she is still healthy, he has not lost the job, or business has not been closed so far. Foreign clients presently are fighting for survival like all of us and have no intention to travel abroad in the near future.
May I humbly request you to kind pass strict instruction to all domestic carriers including Air India who are not willing to refund in cash. Today all our members are facing hard time due to acute shortage of cash flow and Government compliance to pay salary to staff and no lay off possible.
Looking forward to your personal intervention and support from you and the ministry in these hour of crisis.
Thanking you and with best regards,
Indian Association of Tour Operators
Mr. Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary Civil Aviation, Government of India
Mr. Arun Kumar, Director General, Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Government of IndiaClick here to see the document