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In a big relief to air travellers, domestic airlines have agreed to refund passengers all costs barring the base fare if a non-refundable ticket is cancelled. However, passengers can avail this facility only if they cancel their tickets two hours prior to the flight departure.

“At a working group meeting held recently, the airlines have agreed to refund passengers for non-refundable ticket as well.

“The civil aviation secretary has already sent instructions to all the airlines in this regard,”Air Passenger Association of India (APAI) President D Sudhakar Reddy said.

The decision, that would provide succour to the passengers, was taken at a meeting of a working group of the Civil Aviation Economic Advisory Council that is going into issues relating to bringing transparency in fixing of airfares and protect consumer interests.

Reddy, a member of the group representing passengers’ interests, said the airlines have also been told to appoint a nodal officer to specifically deal with such issues.

Apart from the base fares, fuel surcharge, passenger service fee, user or airport development fee and taxes are the other components that an airline charges from the passengers.

As per the decision, all these components would be refunded in case of cancellation of a ticket.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the six-member Working Group, which comprises all stake holders— airlines, DGCA, consumer groups, industry experts, with the Aviation Economic Advisory Council held on January 18 in New Delhi.

Besides passengers, the group comprises representatives of travel agents, Air India ane no-frill carrier IndiGo.

“After discussions, the DGCA gave a presentation to the Council and the Working Group on the issue following which airlines agreed to the proposal,” Reddy said.

Reddy said that APAI has also demanded from the government that it should do away with the service tax on tickets which it introduced in the last budget.

“We have asked the government to abolish the service tax on air tickets as it is against the International Civil Aviation Organisation norms and not in line with international practice,” Reddy said.

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