NEW DELHI, JUN 21 (PTI): Air travellers would now be compensated for cancellation or delays in flights which have not been caused by situations like fog
or any reason beyond the control of the airlines, if a new draft rule is implemented.
New rules detailing the conditions of compensation have been drafted by the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation, which has invited comments from the public before finalising them.
The decision came in the wake of rapid expansion of air services on domestic and international routes and the necessity for the government to ensure appropriate protection for air travellers in case of flight disruptions, denied boarding, cancellations and delays without due notice to the passengers, an official spokesperson said.
As the distinction between scheduled and non-scheduled services was coming down, such protectionary measures would also be provided to passengers travelling on non-scheduled flights, like charters, also.
The new rules or the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) would bring the Indian aviation law in tandem with the Montreal Convention in regard to the liabilities of the airlines.
The operating airline would, however, be under no obligation if the cancellations and delays are caused by events beyond its control, like natural calamities or political instability.
Under the draft CAR, the financial compensation would be given only if the amount of tickets cost is higher than the compensation amount.
It would be Rs. 2,000 or the value of the ticket whichever is less for flights having a block time of up to and including one hour. Till two hours, the compensation would be Rs 3,000 or the value of the ticket whichever is less.
Similarly, if the delay is more than two hours, the amount would be Rs 4,000 or the value of the ticket whichever is less.
The draft rule provides that alternatively, the passenger would be offered the choice of a refund at the price it was purchased, a flight to the first point of departure and alternative transportation to the final destination wherever applicable.
Besides, the passengers shall be offered free of charge meals and refreshments and hotel accommodation, including transfers, when necessary.
The extraordinary circumstances, when the airlines would not be liable to compensate, range from political instability, natural disasters, riot or insurrection, floods, explosion, government regulation or order affecting aircraft, strikes and labour disputes causing cessation, slowdown or interruption of work or any other factor beyond the control of the airline.
The draft rule also said that the airlines would not be liable to pay any compensation if cancellations and delays are clearly attributable to Air Traffic Control, meteorological conditions, security risks or unexpected flight safety situations.
If boarding is denied to passengers against their will, the airline shall as soon as practicable compensate them, the draft rule said.
Airlines overbook their flights in order to reduce the possibility of departing with empty seats because of some passengers who do not report for travel despite firm bookings before the stipulated time.