NEW DELHI: Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Monday said he had written to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri to seek his intervention to ensure cash refunds for air tickets cancelled due to the nationwide lockdown.
"I have written to the Minister to direct airlines' operators to provide cash refunds for cancelled air tickets within a specific time frame. Not refunding the money for cancelled flights is an abuse of consumers' rights," the senior Congress leader said.
Chavan pointed out in his letter that Indian fliers had to cancel their air tickets after the announcement of the nationwide lockdown from March 24-25 midnight and were therefore entitled to cash refunds but the airlines were instead handing out vouchers for future travels, which is "illegal".
"According the Consumer Protection Act, the contract between a consumer and an airline gives a right to the former to get a cash refund," Chavan said. He demanded that the Minister direct the airlines accordingly since many customers were not accepting vouchers.
The Supreme Court on Friday had asked the Centre to take a stand on the refund by airlines for tickets cancelled due to the lockdown, and suggested that the airline operators must extend the credit period for two years instead of offered one year.
The bench asked the Centre and the airlines to sit together and devise modalities on the ways to refund the passengers.
The petitioner had cited a Civil Aviation Ministry's April 16 office memorandum, which directed all airline operators to refund the full amount collected for all tickets booked during the first phase of the lockdown period, from March 25 to April 14, for domestic and international air travel.