The Centre today informed the Supreme Court that the credit shell scheme shall only be offered to passengers and not to travel agents. The Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also cleared that airfare refunds will only be applicable for flights originating in India, both domestic and international bound.
A Bench of Supreme Court Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy & MR Shah was hearing a case pertaining to airfare refunds for flights booked during the lockdown. The DGCA maintained that refunds will be applicable only for those flights that originate in India (whether domestic or international) and there cannot be a refund for flights originating outside India, regardless of national or international carriers.
The Court had sought a response from the Centre as to whether the facility of credit shells could apply to tickets booked through travel agents to which came the reply from the Centre that, "The travel agent, if any, involved in the purchase of any ticket on behalf of any passenger remains only a via-media, leaving the principal contract between the airlines and the passenger only, which is the only recognised mode under DGCA regulations."
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had earlier apprised the bench that the Centre, after a meeting with all the airlines and stakeholders, has come with a detailed proposal. The proposal includes a full refund for all tickets (Domestic, International, and foreign carriers) booked during the lockdown between March 25 and May 3 of this year.
The DGCA in its affidavit also stated that air passengers who booked their tickets during the lockdown will get an immediate and full refund from the airlines. "For all the other cases, the airlines shall make all endeavours to refund the collected amount to the passenger within 15 days," it stated.