The Centre may review the pricing policy for repatriation flights being operated by local carriers to bring back Indians stranded abroad after several lawmakers expressed concern that the passengers were being charged exorbitant fares, people familiar with the situation said.
Under the Vande Bharat Mission, which started on May 6, more than 2.2 million passengers have been flown home. The Air India group alone has operated a total of 3,588 flights carrying 590,000 passengers from different locations until October 19. Regular international flights have been suspended since March 22 because of Covid-19.
The government has also created temporary travel bubbles, or reciprocal arrangements with other countries, under the Vande Bharat Mission. India has put in place such arrangements with 13 countries, including France, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Japan, and the United States. Private carriers, too, have been allowed to fly special flights in these air bubbles.
At a recent interaction with lawmakers, civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola also heard complaints related to refund of fares and cancellation charges apart from exorbitant fares, the people cited above said. Leaders including the Revolutionary Socialist Party’s NK Premachandran pointed out that for flights between the Gulf region and Kerala, passengers were being charged six to eight times the peak season fares.
The civil aviation ministry also faced several complaints over delays in the refund of tickets and imposition of cancellation fees.
Lawmakers pointed out that many passengers had not received full refunds even after the Supreme Court order. The ministry also faced several complaints over delays in the refund of tickets and imposition of cancellation fees.
Source- Hindustan Times.