Air ticket cancellation charges shall not exceed the basic fare and fuel surcharge charged by airlines on a particular route, according to rules notified by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday.
The aviation regulator has notified significant amendments to civil aviation rules relating to refunds, cancellation charges and facilities to be provided to persons with reduced mobility.
The new rules will be effective from August 1.
Cancellation charges are, however, a climbdown from what the DGCA had proposed last month.
The regulator had proposed that the cancellation penalty shall not exceed the basic fare. At present, charges vary from Rs 1,500 to 100% fare of the ticket, depending upon the class, price level and time before departure.
“Airlines shall not levy any additional charge to process the refund. Airlines shall refund all statutory taxes and fees to passengers in case of cancellation, non-utilisation of tickets and no-show. This provision shall also be applicable for all types of fares offered including promos/special fares and where the basic fare is non-refundable,” says the order issued by DGCA chief M Sathiyavathy.
Airlines have been directed to “indicate in an unambiguous manner” the amount of refund of money admissible on cancellation of a ticket.
In case of credit card payments, airlines will be required to refund the money within seven days of the cancellation. “In case of cash transactions, refund shall be made immediately by the airlines office from where the ticket was purchased,” the notice says.
If a ticket is bought through a travel agent or portal, the refund responsibility will be with the airlines, the DGCA said, as “agents are their appointed representatives”.
The option of holding the refund amount in “credit shell” by airlines shall be the prerogative of the passenger and not a default practice of the airline, the rule says.
“The airline shall not levy any additional charge for correction in name of the same person”, when the spelling error is pointed out by the passenger to the airline after booking a ticket, Sathiyavathy said.
Airport operators, the DGCA said, shall make appropriate provisions for “ambulift” at the airport “to enable persons with disability or reduced mobility to embark/disembark the aircraft without inconvenience”.
In airports without an ambulift or aerobridge, provisions of a towable ramp should be made.