DGCA tells airlines to fly out people first, charge later

DGCA tells airlines to fly out people first, charge later

Stepping up efforts to help fly out those stranded in flood-hit Jammu and Kashmir, the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday instructed all airlines to collect airfare from stranded passengers, who do not have enough funds with them, only when they reach Delhi.

It also asked all airlines to cap the fares on Srinagar-Delhi and Leh-Delhi sectors to Rs 2,800 and Rs 3,000 and add additional flights to clear the rush of outbound tourists from Srinagar.

Officials said the decision to collect airfare only in Delhi for cash-strapped passengers has come as a boon as they were not able to access ATMs or any other modes for payment. The decisions were taken by DGCA Prabhat Kumar after consultations with airlines. All airlines have agreed to the decision taken against the backdrop of the floods. 

In a letter to various airlines, the DGCA said the airlines should ensure that they do not charge the prevalent airfare and instead charge only fixed airfare.  “Airlines must airlift those passengers from Srinagar also, who do not have any money at this stage. Such passengers may be charged airfare upon arrival at Delhi,” Gupta said.

The DGCA had earlier directed all airlines not to charge anything extra from passengers from Srinagar and Jammu if they rescheduled or cancelled their bookings. They were also asked not to levy any cancellation fee. Air India, Jet Airways, IndiGo and other carriers have said they had made arrangements to extend the waiver for refund or reissue of tickets as per the DGCA directive.

IndiGo said that its Delhi-Srinagar ticket would cost Rs 2,803 while Srinagar-Mumbai fare will be Rs 4,856. A Srinagar-Jammu ticket now cost Rs 1,948 and Srinagar-Chandigarh Rs 1,999 and Srinagar-Bangalore Rs 5,400.

“IndiGo flights to Srinagar (is) on discounted fares to help evacuation. Allowing excess baggage. Free food. Situation in Valley is very grave,” Aditya Ghosh, President and Executive Director at Inter Globe Aviation Limited that runs IndiGo, tweeted.
 In a statement, IndiGo said it is sending a psychiatrist every morning and returning by the evening flight to help passengers and flood victims cope with the traumatic event and counsel them.

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