The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Central Government's stand in a plea seeking full refund for cancellation of air tickets due to the lockdown.
A Bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul and MR Shah asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to discuss the modalities involved with all concerned airlines and respond to the Court.
Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed Court that Indians stranded outside India have been brought back under the Vande Bharat scheme, whereas the present plea was filed when travel from outside India was not allowed.
The Court interjected and stated that the issue at hand was regarding refund of cancelled tickets and not on any other issue. The SG replied saying that his personal opinion was that the money ought to be refunded.
Senior Advocate Harish Salve appearing on behalf of SpiceJet apprised the Court that Airlines have suffered a hit of over $60 Billion globally, due to the pandemic. It was further informed that 49% of the flying cost was fixed, with zero revenue to the airlines.
"Nowhere in the world are airlines refunding the complete fare", added Salve as he conveyed the Airline's intention to sit across the table with the Civil Aviation Ministry.
With regard to the airlines granting flying credit for a limited period in lieu of cancelled tickets, Justice Kaul asked why such credit should be limited to a short period of time, or to a particular route.
"Credit must be granted for at least a period of 2 years, and passengers should be allowed to use that credit for any route", suggested the Judge.
With this, the matter will be taken up again in three weeks after the Centre conveys it's stand to the Court.