Awaiting refund of cancelled Jet flight? You are unlikely to get it soon

If you have initiated a refund against your Jet Airways flight, you are unlikely to get it anytime soon. As the beleaguered airline ran out of funds, it shut down operations on April 17, and since then, several passengers are awaiting their ticket refunds. Some, who had already booked their hotels, were forced to shell out more for alternative tickets.

For instance, a passenger Sabina Gomes even received a refund receipt number on April 24, but two months after, she is still awaiting her refund worth Rs 82,400, according to a Times of India report. 

India's bankruptcy court, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on July 20 accepted an insolvency petition against Jet Airways filed by State Bank of India-led consortium of lenders. The insolvency process, which is expected to be wrapped up in 90 days, will allow the lenders to sell the airline as a whole or  in parts to recover some of their dues. 

However, how much of this will be used for initiating refunds to customers? Jet's pilots and cabin crew are alone owed Rs 400 crore in unpaid salaries from January to May, according to Reuters

The travel agents who filed for refunds before April 17 have received 100 per cent refunds, according to TOI. Those who filed for refunds after that are unlikely to get it anytime soon. This is because on April 17, international airlines lobby IATA suspended Jet Airways from the membership of its clearing house system.

"Consequently, claims by and against Jet Airways will not be processed by the clearing house with effect from and period 02 of the April 2019 clearing month," the association said, adding that claims already submitted for clearance are excluded, according to Press Trust of India

But initiating refunds is amongst one of the several problems for the airline. Jet's ticketing system is not evening functioning properly. There are hardly any staff appointed to look into this. 

Moreover, there might be some fraudulent cased where people put up claims for more than what it is due. Currently, Jet lacks the infrastructure to validate each request.

"It will take a long time and even then, many might not receive a refund," reported TOI

On April 18, the airline had even written to the Prime Minister’s Office, Finance Ministry as well as Ministry of Civil Aviation, seeking Rs 400 crore in emergency funds to refund passengers. Responding to this, the Civil Aviation Ministry tweeted, “DGCA and other regulators are monitoring the situation carefully to ensure that all existing rules regarding refunds, cancellations, and alternative bookings are followed strictly.” However, it is not clear how the government will ensure the refund to passengers. 

As of now, the cash-strapped airline might have to wait for the bidding process to be completed before it can take any future course of action.