New Delhi: The Civil Aviation Ministry will ask private airlines to give cancellation fee relief to passengers in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
National carrier Air India has already waived off cancellation fees.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the government will give suitable recommendations to private airlines for providing relief in cancellation and refunds.
“I am very happy to tell you that Air India has already waived cancellation charges. You know, Air India, is a little more subject to our persuasion. All the others are private sector carriers. All I can tell you that we will be making suitable recommendations to the private sector carriers,” Puri said here at a press conference.
The spread of deadly coronavirus has severely affected the travel and tourism sector with people cancelling their trips in the wake of rising fear. While flights on South East Asian routes connecting cities such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Seoul have seen sharp fall in passenger load, other international flights have also started witnessing poor bookings.
An airline executive said that flights to Gulf and Middle East have seen cancellations as well as 10-15 per cent dip in advance bookings.
“The overall network is affected. Gradually, it is affecting every sector. Domestic routes have seen least severe impact,” he said.
International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac on March 5 said that the turn of events as a result of COVID-19 is almost without precedent.
“In a little over two months, the industry’s prospects in much of the world have taken a dramatic turn for the worse. It is unclear how the virus will develop, but whether we see the impact contained to a few markets and a $63 billion revenue loss, or a broader impact leading to a $113 billion loss of revenue, this is a crisis,” he said.