The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has expressed dissatisfaction over airline companies defaulting on refunds to passengers over flight tickets that were booked for travel during the coronavirus induced nationwide lockdown last year but got cancelled.
MoCA Secretary on Wednesday chaired a meeting with representatives of airlines in connection with refund of credit shells of passengers. A credit shell is a credit note created against a cancelled PNR and can be used by the passenger for a future booking.
“MoCA Secretary has chaired the meeting today with all the airline companies regarding credit shells refund and expressed dissatisfaction towards airline companies who did not refund the money. GoAir and IndiGo have submitted their undertaking to the ministry that they have refund all the credit shells to the passengers”, an official told ANI.
The Supreme Court of India had ordered MoCA to clear all the credit shells and refund the passengers after the deadline of March 31.
India’s low-cost airline SpiceJet wasn’t able to refund credit shells to the passengers, “Refunds are governed by the order of the Supreme Court and we are adhering to those directions. SpiceJet had written to all its travel partners and agents in March 2021 to share details of pending credit shell PNRs so that the airline can immediately reverse the credit shell amount back to the agency ID,” a spokesperson for SpiceJet said.
National carrier Air India is also yet to refund total credit shells to the passengers. As per sources said Air India has to clear credit shells to around five lakh twenty-five thousand passengers which amount to around ₹2000 crore.
“Air India is committed to processing its pending refunds claims expeditiously. Dissemination of information regarding refunds is already initiated. Air India has cleared close to ₹1000 Crore from 1st April 2020 till date in India. We are also addressing queries related to refunds from passengers through our social media platforms.” Air India Spokesperson said.
Air Asia and Vistara is also yet clear the credit shell to the passengers. “We are thorough with all our refunds except in a very few cases where we are trying to reach out to the passengers to revert with their bank account details in which the money is to be credited.” An Air Asia India official told ANI.
MoCA has to file an affidavit in the Supreme Court regarding the refund of credit shells. MoCA Secretary has shown dissatisfaction in the meeting over the airline companies’ response in the meeting over refund on cancelled tickets.
The Supreme Court in October accepting a recommendation of the civil aviation ministry and directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) ordered airlines to refund passengers the cost of the tickets of flights cancelled between March 25 to May 24 last year, also approved a credit shell scheme which was valid till March 31, this year.