Air India comes to the rescue of Jet’s stranded int’l passengers

Chennai: Cash-strapped Jet Airways which suspended its operations temporarily has been the recipient of good will and the consequences of corporate reality in the aviation sector.

While government-run Air India has offered to help stranded international passengers, international airlines lobby IATA suspended membership of the grounded airlines in its clearing house system.

Good gesture

Coming to the rescue of Jet, Air India, on Thursday, offered ‘special stranded’ fares to passengers at overseas airports such as Paris, London Heathrow, Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, Dammam, and Muscat, among others, Air India said in a statement.

“As a gesture of goodwill and to mitigate the hardship of the 9W (Jet Airways flight code) at international stations, Air India will be offering special fares to such passengers,” it said.

Passengers holding confirmed RT tickets on Jet Airways will be allowed to avail special stranded passenger fares from the destinations common with Air India, it said.

Passengers beware

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in a circular that it is, with immediate effect, suspending membership of the grounded Jet Airways of its clearing house system. The move is likely to impact the refund process to passengers.

“Consequently, claims by and against Jet Airways will not be processed by the clearing house with effect from and period 02 of the April clearing month,” the association said, adding however, those claims already submitted for clearance are excluded.

“Jet Airways has been suspended from the IATA Settlement Systems following the airlines announcement of the temporary suspension of flight operations,” later IATA said in a statement.

Jet Airways had been participating in over 73 Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) and 19 Cargo Accounts Settlement Systems (CASS) around the world, it said.

Passengers who purchased Jet Airways tickets through IATA accredited travel agents are advised to submit their refund through the IATA accredited travel agent they bought their tickets from, as soon as possible, IATA said adding the travel agent will then liaise with IATA and Jet Airways to process the refund.

Jet Airways stopped its international operations from 11 April, despite it downing shutters only yesterday after a Boeing 737 touched down at the Mumbai airport in the morning.

Help in need
With the issue of Jet Airways striking fear among other airlines, the government can do its part and reduce the cost of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) to boost air traffic, state reports.

ATF is taxed by both Centre and State governments, much like petrol and diesel and with high costs, jet fuel takes up around 50 per cent of operational costs for an airlines, said a media report. Compared to Malaysia, ATF costs 30 per cent higher, it stated.

According to reports, bringing ATF under GST would help ease matters. Also, reducing the gap between the rupee and dollar and stopping inflation costs will also help sector, reports state.

NT Bureau