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Tuesday, 21 July, 2020, 12 : 45 PM [IST]

DGCA receives 79% plaints in June from passengers over refunds

Two months after the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) resumed domestic travel after the lockdown restrictions were eased, passengers are still struggling to receive the refund for flight tickets, cancelled owing to the Covid-19 outbreak in March.

This was revealed in a report by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for June, as the aviation regulator received 78.5% complaints from passengers citing problems over refunds. The report also stated that 62% flights were cancelled owing to commercial reasons (low passenger load and clubbing of two flights). DGCA however, does not put the total number of complaints received from passengers, in public domain.

Of all the Indian air carriers, the most passenger complaints in June were against Air India, followed by TruJet and SpiceJet. HT tried to contact the three airlines, but none of them responded to the queries on the report.

“It is an unfair business practice to not refund passengers for cancellations owing to unavoidable circumstances, amid the Covid-19 restrictions,” said Vipul Saxena, former pilot and aviation expert, adding that DGCA should extend its refund order, as air travel in Unlock-2 is a non-essential sector and airlines are being allowed to operate only in restricted mode.

According to industry experts, travel is expected to return to normalcy only by the year-end.

“Airlines refused to refund passengers for their booked tickets, and instead converted them as open tickets that can be used for travel till March 2021. Despite airlines offering schemes to attract passengers, the demand has been low, as only stranded passengers may want to travel,” said a senior official from the commercial department of an airline. (Source: HT)

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