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The number of air passengers seeking refund from airlines has surged in the past few months, the highest in the past six months being in April, according to the monthly report of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). As many as 75% air passengers have registered their complaints against airlines in April.
These passengers are either those who could not fly to their destination states due to travel restrictions there, or the those who failed to board their flight after testing positive for Covid-19 themselves. In both such cases, airlines have reportedly deducted a huge amount as cancellation charges.
According to previous DGCA reports, November 62.4%; December 61.4%; January 41.%; February 54.6%; and March saw 65.7% refund-related complaints.
According to the report, domestic carriers together registered 5.72 million air travellers in April compared to 7.8 million in March.
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The Indian aviation industry is still recovering from suspension of commercial flight operations last year due to the nationwide lockdown. The second wave of the pandemic hit the country hard in April, resulting in a decline in air traffic across the country,especially after foreign countries banned India flights.
While the government has allowed airlines to operate at 80% of their seating capacities, fear of contracting the virus has seen poor footfall. The second wave of the pandemic has also brought in several travel restrictions and lockdowns in various states,forcing people to stay at home. Moreover, a significant number of passengers is also avoiding travel voluntarily.
Due to these, passengers are demanding full refund,whereas few airlines allegedly are charging cancellation amounts from them,leading to an increase in such complaints.