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Refund Airfare for Flights Booked During Lockdown Period: DGCA

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As per the advisories issued in the official memorandum by the Civil Aviation Ministry of Central Government on Thursday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation called upon for the strict compliance of the advisories by all the domestic and foreign airline operators engaged in domestic or international air travel in India.

In the view of the outbreak of Pandemic disease of Coronavirus in the world while issuing aforesaid powers the operations of international and domestic flights were suspended by the Government of India. Subsequently, it announces the complete lockdown in the nation on 23rd March, 2020 till 14th April, 2020 and which is now extended up to 3rd May, 2020.

At the outset, the Aircraft Act, 1934 was drafted when it comes to Aviation industry which provides certain provisions such as in subclause 5(A) of section 5, Section 6, Subclause 8(A), 8(B) of Section 8 for the Central Government Aviation Ministry and Directorate General of Civil Aviation to issue directions, to make orders in emergency, to make rules for protecting the public health and emergency powers for protecting the public health.

Section 8(B) “Emergency powers for protecting the public health” of the Aircraft Act, 1934 is listed below as: –

Emergency powers for protecting the public health. — 

  1. If the Central Government is satisfied that India or any part thereof is visited by or threatened with an outbreak of any dangerous epidemic disease, and that the ordinary provisions of the law for the time being in force are insufficient for the prevention of danger arising to the public health through the introduction or spread of the disease by the agency of aircraft, the Central Government may take such measures as it deems necessary to prevent such danger. 
  2. In any such case the Central Government may, without prejudice to the powers conferred by section 8A, by notification in the Official Gazette, make such temporary rules with respect to aircraft and persons traveling or things carried therein and aerodromes as it deems necessary in the circumstances. 
  3. Notwithstanding anything contained in section 14, the power to make rules under sub-section (2) shall not be subject to the condition of the rules being made after previous publication, but such rules shall not remain in force for more than three months from the date of notification: Provided that the Central Government may by special order continue them in force for a further period or periods of not more than three months in all.

Recently, the official memorandum was released which mentioned that the number of travellers who were eager to move out of their places after the first stage of lockdown will ends and had booked tickets for the same in any domestic or international airline, due to the extension of the lockdown and suspension of domestic and international airlines operations continued till 3rd May, the aforesaid travellers had seek for the cancellation of such bookings and relief in way of refund was sought by such passengers. Therefore, it was directed to the airlines that they will refund the full amount collected without levy of cancellation charges and it will be made within 3 weeks from the date of request of cancellation. 

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