The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to file an additional affidavit clarifying how travel agents will make good the loss incurred by them if the refund of airline fare for tickets booked during the lockdown is made directly to passengers..The Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah had earlier sought a clarification from the Centre as regards certain aspects of airline ticket refunds..Solicitor General Tushar Mehta today attempted to assuage the Bench by stating that refunds would be in the form of vouchers, which the passenger can use only with the same travel agent to purchase tickets. However, the Bench remained unconvinced, and sought to know what would happen in case passengers had not paid the travel agents..Non-Refund of Airfare for Tickets booked during COVID-19 Lockdown is arbitrary: Supreme Court issues Notice.Appearing for the travel agents, Senior Advocate Pallav Shishodia submitted that airfare is often a part of a large booking."Often, the booking is only a part of the large booking including hotels, food, etc and its part of a large trade channel. If the money is not refunded to us, then there will be numerous insolvencies and we will refund to the passenger. If we don't get a refund, then we can't work.".It was further submitted that the credit shell should come to the travel agents and not the passengers, else "the agents would have to inform the airlines about every individual who booked tickets prior to lockdown"..Senior Advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for GoAir, submitted that the airline was on verge of collapsing, as revenues had dropped sharply. He said that it should not be mandatory for them to refund passengers. "We need to have funds at our disposal to pay. We had a Rs 700 crore profit before March, and now its Rs 104 crore. The sector will collapse and it has about 30,000 to 40,000 employees.".The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had filed an affidavit stating that all tickets booked for domestic flights, whether through travel agents or from airlines directly, would be covered by this refund.In relation to international travel, passengers who had made bookings on Indian carriers or foreign carriers originating from India would be eligible to claim the refund..The period of booking was the crucial aspect on which clarification was sought by many parties. The framework that the Centre had come up with earlier suggested that the refund was valid only for flights that were cancelled during the first leg of the nationwide lockdown..However, Senior Advocate Pinaki Mishra stated that DGCA's approach in the case was of "one glove fits all." He argued,"Travel agents deposit with airlines a corpus of one crores. Balance keeps coming down with tickets issuance, and with refund, it comes back. So if passenger has not paid, the corpus will be reimbursed. DGCA's approach is one size glove fits all. DGCA cannot say you must refund. If passengers accept my offer voluntarily, then how can I be compelled?".SG Mehta maintained that the affidavit had taken the interests of both passengers and airlines into consideration, and that it was the most the Centre could do. He said,"Under the circumstances, this is the maximum we can do after balancing all equities. Your Lordships need not do anything further. If some individuals have a problem then we cannot do anything, as this is an exceptional situation and someone has to bear the brunt.".The case will continue to be heard on September 25..The Centre was earlier asked to clarify the categories of passengers proposed to be covered under the decision for refund, the period of booking of flights for which such refund can be availed, and the duration of credit shell that can be given by the airlines..Refund for Tickets booked for Air Travel during lockdown: Who will be eligible for refunds? DGCA clarifies in affidavit before SC.The DGCA has categorised passengers into three categories:For those who made bookings prior to lockdown for a period up till May 24, the refund would be governed by the credit shell scheme and the incentives thereunder.For bookings made during lockdown for travelling during lockdown, refund shall be made by airlines immediately "as the airlines were not supposed to book such tickets."For bookings that were made for travelling on dates after May 24, the refund would be governed by the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR)..The threshold of May 24 is set for dividing the passengers in these categories since operation of domestic air travel had begun in a calibrated manner May 25 onwards..The DGCA also elaborates on the credit shell scheme. It is stated in the affidavit,"...if the Tour operator has already paid the money to the airline for purchasing the ticket for the client but the client is yet to pay that money to the agents, then on cancellation of ticket and converting it in to credit shell, the ticket will remain in the name of passenger and in case passenger utilizes the credit shell he will pay to the agent and not to the airline. However, in case the passenger does not utilise the credit shell till 31st Mar 2021, then the airline will have to refund the amount as per proposed formulation and money will go back to same account of the agent from which the ticket amount was paid to the airline.".DGCA has also specified that all refunds made will be credited to accounts from which the bookings were initially made and paid for. In case of credit shells, the ticket will remain in the name of the passenger. However, in the event of refund, the amount would be credited to the account of the operator or agent that made the booking.