NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to respond to a plea seeking directions to airlines for full refund of tickets of flights cancelled due to covid-19 and the ensuing lockdown.
An apex court bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan asked the Centre and the airlines to file a reply within three weeks.
The bench also proposed that airlines provide a credit shell with a two-year validity against flight bookings that were cancelled during the lockdown.
"Why should credit be limited to a short period or for the same route?" the bench asked.
Senior advocate Harish Salve appearing for airline companies submitted, that "airlines have suffered a hit of 60 billion dollar globally due to pandemic" and that 49% flying cost is fixed. He added that airlines have had zero revenue during the lockdown.
According to industry body International Air Transport Association, airlines globally will lose over $84 billion during financial year 2020, the worst in aviation history, due to covid-19 pandemic and the resultant muted travel appetite
SpiceJet Ltd said, "Nowhere in the world airlines are refunding complete fare. We would like to sit with the civil aviation ministry and come up with a solution."
The apex court directed the civil aviation ministry to schedule a meeting with airlines and devise modalities to make refunds to passengers.
The case will be heard after three weeks and all airlines will be heard as parties to this plea.
The directions were issued while hearing the plea filed by Travel Agents Federations of India. The plea was filed on 5 June and sought appropriate directions from the government to the airlines for full refund.