The DGCA is unlikely to make it compulsory to print cancellation charges on air tickets, with the Indian aviation watchdog suggesting that the charges be “indicated prominently” at the time of booking, according to an official document.
In a presentation last month to Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suggested that the proposed regulation of “cancellation charges must be printed prominently on the ticket in a conspicuous manner” be replaced with “cancellation charges must be indicated prominently at the time of booking”.
The regulation is part of a draft passenger charter.
However, the deliberations on the matter are still on and Mr Sinha has “desired” that the draft passenger charter “be finalised and released” by February-end, according to the minutes of the meeting where the presentation was made.
The draft passenger charter regulation, which was issued on May 22 last year, stated that, “Cancellation charges must be printed prominently on the ticket in a conspicuous manner”.
Explaining the regulation, a government statement on May 22, 2018, said: “Cancellation charges must be printed prominently in the ticket itself in a minimum font size of 12 and not as fine print. This information must also be provided as part of the reservation and ticket documentation.”
PTI has accessed the copy of the DGCA’s presentation to Mr Sinha.
The regulation was changed in the presentation after opposition by airlines, according to a senior DGCA official, who spoke to PTI on the condition of anonymity.
According to the presentation, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had told the DGCA that “cancellation charges to be indicated on the e-ticket, if space allows. Airline to provide customers notice of fare conditions before the purchase is made.”
The IATA, the trade association for the world’s airlines, represents some 290 airlines or 82 per cent of the total air traffic.
The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) had told the DGCA that this regulation should “not be made mandatory due to their system limitations, especially on GDS (Global Distribution System)”, according to the presentation.
Vistara airlines had told the DGCA that this regulation’s “feasibility” is “subject to technical capability of software”, as per the presentation.
Jet Airways, GoAir, IndiGo and SpiceJet are part of the FIA.
The GDS is a computer network system, owned by a company, which allows smooth and quick transactions between hotels, airlines, travel agencies and cab operators among others.
Airlines believe that it will take a lot of time and money to devise a system where the air ticket, whether issued by an airline or the GDS company, will have the same cancellation charges printed on it, according to the DGCA official.
There are three major GDS companies in India and globally – Amadeus, Sabre and TravelPort. Each GDS company has its own software system.