Millennium Post

Fuel charges cannot be part of cancellation fee: IATA agents

New Delhi: A body of travel agents in the country, in a representation to the government, demanded a review of the air passenger's draft citizen charter, contending that inclusion of fuel charges in the cancellation fee was "illegal" and in "violation of law".

The IATA Agents Association of India suggested that the fuel charges should not be clubbed with the base fare for deciding cancellation charges as there was no "fuel burn-off" when the passenger was not travelling at the first place.

According to the draft charter released on May 22, the cancellation charges should be printed prominently on ticket and airline and their agents together should not, under any circumstances, levy cancellation charge more than the basic fare plus fuel surcharge.

"The charging of cancellation fee more than the base fare is quite illogical. When a passenger is not travelling, there is no fuel consumption required. Hence when the carrier is not consuming or burning any fuel or gasoline on account of that passenger's carriage, the airline cannot retain such and the unused fuel charge portion should be refunded.

"Therefore, fuel charges cannot become a part of the cancellation charges and any attempt to include this into the base fare without merging both fare and fuel charges together is illegal and total violation of the law," the association in a representation to the ministry said. The charter is currently under the process of consultation. Officials in the Civil Aviation Ministry said feedbacks received from various stakeholders were under examination.

Under existing rules, different airlines charge varying amounts on cancellation. There had been several complaints by passengers about airlines refusing a refund or charging an inordinately hefty amount.

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