There was a lot of confusion over the time period making someone eligible for the refund, which created huge disappointment among flyers.
In a partial relief to flyers seeking full funds from airlines for their cancelled tickets during the lockdown from March 25 to June 1, aimed at containing the spread of Coronavirus in the country, the Supreme Court on Friday suggested airlines to allow flyers use their credit shell, issued for their cancelled air tickets, for a period of two years.
“Why should a credit shell being issued by the airlines be limited to a short period or for the same route?” the SC asked. The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, S K Kaul and M R Shah, while hearing the plea, also suggested allowing passengers to use the credit shells for any route they want.
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For the cancelled tickets, airlines had earlier offered credit shells to customers that can be used by the same passenger within one year for the same route. There was a lot of confusion over the time period making someone eligible for the refund, which created huge disappointment among flyers.
The apex court asked the Centre to take a stand on the issue and discuss with airlines and work out modalities for full refunds. The Supreme Court will further hear the plea after three weeks.
Contesting their case, low-cost carrier SpiceJet said: “Nowhere in the world airlines are issuing full refunds”, adding “About 49%” of our flying cost is fixed and “there is zero revenue to the airlines.”
Due to the Covid-19-induced lockdown, airlines across the world are going through tough times. Even after the easing of lockdown, demand is way below the pre-Covid period. The airline urged the Supreme Court to consider them as “parties” too in the hearing.