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India revises compensation guidelines for delayed flights

The India Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has revised compensation guidelines for cancelling a flight or denying boarding to a flier. From August 1, an airline will have to pay up to Rs 10,000 to a passenger if a flight is cancelled or delayed beyond two hours, while the compensation for not allowing a passenger to board the flight is up to Rs 20,000. Today, airlines only offer up to Rs 4,000 for both denied boarding and cancelling a flight.
Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) founder and president D Sudhakara Reddy, has called for the new rules to be clarified.

“We have strong objection to certain issues. The operating airline would not have the obligation to pay compensation in the situations which are beyond the control of the airline including political instability and delays on the part of air traffic control, among others. How can the ATC delays be a reason for compensation and this leaves the decision in a grey area and will lead to many disputes. It is also not transparent,” Reddy said.

Airlines are required to pay a compensation of Rs 5,000 or booked one-way basic fare plus fuel charge, whichever is less for cancelled/ delayed flights having a block time of up to one hour in addition to refund of ticket, if a passenger has not been previously informed by the carrier. For airline cancelling or delaying its flight over one hour but up to two hours, the compensation amount will be Rs 7,500 or booked one-way basic fare plus fuel charge, whichever is less, besides the refund amount.
An amount of Rs 10,000 or booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, whichever is less, will be the compensation for flights having a block time of more than two hours.

An amount equal to 400 per cent of booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, subject to maximum of Rs 20,000, will have to be paid to a flier in case airline arranges alternate flight that is scheduled to depart beyond 24 hours of the booked scheduled departure, as per the revised norms.

In case passenger does not opt for alternate flight, refund of full value of ticket and compensation equal to 400 per cent of booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, subject to maximum of Rs 20,000, will have to be paid to a flier.
“Also, since no financial compensation shall be payable to passengers who have not provided adequate contact information at the time of making booking or when the ticket for firm travel on the selected flight is issued. This will lead to dispute settlement mechanism and which agency will be the responsible agency and in what time frame. This is especially true when it comes to transit passengers/connecting international passengers,” Reddy added.
“Besides, the burden of proof concerning the questions as to whether and when the passenger has been informed of the delay of the flight shall rest with the operating airline.. this is a grey area and leaves the burden of proof in the hands of the airline and can’t be accepted.”
Date: July 18, 2016

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