Advance air ticket sales could prove costly: Capa India

Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri had last week said that airlines can take domestic bookings after 14 April, unless the lockdown is extended

Rhik Kundu
Updated9 Apr 2020
Representative image
Representative image (Photo: HT)

The government’s decision to allow advance flight bookings from 14 April before it decides to lift the nationwide lockdown is likely to leave thousands of passengers in the lurch, aviation consultancy Capa India said on Thursday.

“As and when the lockdown is lifted and the structure of the transition period is known, the ministry of civil aviation should only allow resumption of bookings in sectors that will be operated by Indian airlines during the transition and not the entire network,” it said.

The Centre had initiated a lockdown to contain the spread of covid-19. As such, all domestic flights have been banned till 14 April. The government is now pondering over an extension of the lockdown following requests from several states and experts.

Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri had last week said that airlines can take domestic bookings after 14 April, unless the lockdown is extended.

“Significant funds of passengers are already locked with Indian carriers as a result of advance bookings prior to the lockdown and the decision to allow bookings post 14 April without any decision of the lifting of lockdown will increase the risks, which needs to be avoided,” Capa India said.

“Giving credit vouchers for all advance bookings prior to the lockdown was expected and is reasonable but not for bookings after 14 April,” it said.

A senior airline official said that the situation, with uncertainty over when airlines would be allowed to restart operations, is not ideal for the aviation sector.

IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir, Vistara and AirAsia India chose not to comment.

“The volume of refund or rescheduling requests could be a challenge,” said the airline official mentioned earlier, requesting anonymity.

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