Ministry of Civil Aviation Current Affairs

Ministry of Civil Aviation notifies Draft Passenger Charter

The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation has notified Draft Passenger Charter defining rights for air passengers. It aims to improve hassle-free air travel experience of air passengers in the country.

Salient Features of draft

Passenger can cancel air ticket within 24 hours of booking it and if provided travel is to take place after 96 hours, then passenger will be able to cancel ticket without any charge. The cancellation charges will be not more than sum of basic fare and fuel surcharge.

Passenger must be informed about flight cancellation between two weeks and 24 hours before flight. The airline must either offer alternative flight that departs within two hours of scheduled departure of flight booked originally or refund ticket cost.

If airline doesn’t inform passengers about cancelled flight up to 24 hours ahead, it will have to refund the full ticket value, with compensation. Similarly, for delays communicated more than 24 hours before scheduled departure, airline must offer option of full refund of ticket cost if the delay is for more than four hours.

If delay results in flight departing next day, then airline will have to offer free hotel stay. These norms will be applicable only if delay is due to fault of airline, and not caused by bad weather. If a delay results in a passenger missing a connecting flight, then airline will have to pay Rs.5,000 to Rs.20,000.

In case of lost baggage, the minimum compensation proposed is Rs.3,000 per kg. If baggage is delayed or damaged, airline is liable to pay Rs. 1,000 per kg. If passenger doesn’t receive due compensation, grievances can be filed on Ministry of Civil Aviation’s AirSewa app or at Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) portal.

Both domestic and international airlines operating in India are now allowed to offer internet and mobile services on-board its aircraft to passengers in Indian airspace. However, airlines, will require licence from aviation authorities for providing these services.

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UDAN Phase-II: 325 routes awarded; 40% for North East, hills

The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation has awarded 325 air routes under the second phase of government’s flagship UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam naagrik) regional connectivity scheme. Around 40% or 129 of 325 air routes were awarded to newly created category of ‘priority areas’ that include Jammu and Kashmir, Northeastern and hill states, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands,

Key Facts

The routes under phase-II were awarded to 15 airlines and helicopter operators after bidding process. These include major domestic airlines such as SpiceJet, IndiGo, Jet Airways and Air India subsidiary Alliance Air and four helicopter operators — Heligo Charters, Heritage Aviation, Pawan Hans, and Skyone Airways

Airports to be connected under phase-II: Total 78 airports i.e. 36 served airports, 13 underserved airports and 29 unserved airports will be connected. In addition, 31 helipads/ heliports will be connected through Helicopters in priority areas.

Viability Gap Funding (VGF) Outflow: These proposed routes will get VGF estimated at Rs. 487 crores per annum for fixed wing operations and Rs. 130 crores for Helicopter operations per annum in the Priority areas. The government provides VGF or subsidy for 50% of seats set aside for being offered at discounted rates by airlines and all seats up to 13 passenger seats for helicopters.

UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam naagrik) Scheme

The UDAN RCS (Regional Connectivity Scheme) was launched in October 2016 to develop the regional aviation market. It is vital component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP), 2016.

It also aims to make flying affordable by providing connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of the country through revival of existing airstrips and airports so that persons in regional towns are able to take affordable flights.

It is applicable on flights covering distance between 200 km and 800 km with no lower limit set for hilly, remote, island and security sensitive regions. It seeks to reserve a minimum number of UDAN seats i.e. seats at subsidized rates and also cap fare for short distance flights. It has unique market-based model to develop regional connectivity. It has Viability Gap Funding (VDF) mechanism to meet the VGF requirements under the scheme. Airports Authority of India (AAI) is implementing agency of the scheme.

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