Airlines agree to graded cancellation charges

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Airlines have agreed to consider a proposal of the govt to have a graded system for ticket cancellation and rescheduling charges. Airlines have agreed to consider a proposal of the govt to have a graded system for ticket cancellation and rescheduling charges.
SummaryLast week, domestic carriers increased cancellation charges to Rs 1,500 from Rs 1,000.

Air passengers can soon expect respite from high cancellation charges on domestic ticket cancellations, as the airlines have agreed to consider a proposal of the civil aviation ministry to have a graded system for cancellation and rescheduling charges.

“We have asked airlines to have a graded system for cancellation and rescheduling charges. Airlines have agreed to consider it and said they will come up with a formula soon,” aviation secretary K N Srivastava said after his meeting with the airlines on Friday.

A graded system, also followed by the Indian Railways, would mean more penalty for cancelling tickets closer to the travel date and less penalty for cancelling earlier from the travel date. Last week, domestic carriers increased cancellation charges to Rs 1,500 from Rs 1,000 and the charges are irrespective of the time of cancellation.

This was decided upon in a quarterly meeting of airline CEOs called by the civil aviation secretary. The meeting was attended by DGCA officials, Air India joint managing director Nasir Ali, IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh, and senior officers of Jet Airways and SpiceJet.

In another major decision that will empower the consumers, the airlines were told that the ministry will set up an ombudsman at Delhi and Mumbai airports, where air passengers can register their complaints.

“Time has come to implement the ombudsman system. We will have ombudsman set up in Delhi and Mumbai to begin with. Then, depending on experience, we will have them in major centres,” Srivastava said.

At the meeting, the government also suggested that domestic carriers should increase air service operations particularly to the states that have slashed taxes on jet fuel.

The recommendation had been made at a meeting earlier this week in which states wanted airlines to increase flights in lieu of reducing value added tax on aviation turbine fuel.

OTHER DECISIONS

* Notification on policy to boost connectivity in regional areas soon

* Changes to Aircraft Act making it easier for global aircraft leasing firms to do business

* Airlines asked to increase flights to states offering to reduce VAT on ATF

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