As passengers who had booked tickets on Jet Airways flights wait for the refund of their ticket amount, they are also worried about the spike in ticket fares of other airlines. According to a primary estimate, ticket prices have increased by at least 30 to 40 per cent since Jet Airways announced that it was suspending operations.
The cash-strapped Jet Airways flew its last flight from Amritsar to Mumbai on Wednesday night, before temporarily suspending all operations after it failed to receive the emergency funding it had sought.
Jet Airways said it was informing all its passengers about the suspended flights via text, phone calls or other avenues, and would also refund the ticket money. The airline has issued a list of instructions on its website for the refund process.
“The airline has promised refunds to its passengers and has also started the process. But the numbers are huge and there is a certain degree of uncertainty on whether it will be able to refund the fare amount of all passengers,” said a tour operator from Pune.
He added, “The bigger worry is a spike in the ticket prices of other airlines, as the holiday season is just round the corner. We are seeing a increase of 30 to 40 per cent than the average close-to-travel-date fares. Many have said that the flights of their choice are already booked and they are settling with flights which may alter their travel plans, force them to change hotel bookings etc. I will not be surprised if some of them take the train instead.”
Shaishav Parekh, honorary secretary of the Pune Chapter of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), said, “Due to sudden closure of Jet Airways, all affected passengers are herewith advised to note that agents will be able to make the refund only after airlines refund them the amount.”
Another tour operator said, “For operators who have done group bookings, including bookings on Jet Airways along with hotels, their travel arrangements are in limbo. They will have to provide the assured trips, but there will an increase in tour expenses. Big players in the tourism business can survive this problem but small-time players are bound to suffer.”
In a series of tweets on the issue, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) stated, “Jet Airways has informed MoCA that it is temporarily ceasing operations. The bank-led resolution process is still underway and expected to end by May 10. During this time, MoCA will support the resolution process within the existing legal and regulatory framework. DGCA and other regulators are monitoring the situation carefully to ensure that all existing rules regarding refunds, cancellations, and alternate bookings are followed strictly. Any passenger complaints or issues should be promptly reported to the #AirSewa portal or mobile app. We will follow up immediately. Our overriding priority remains the safety, convenience, and affordability of our aviation system. We are assisting airlines and airports to bring in capacity rapidly to ensure that fares remain stable and competitive.”