Government directs Air Arabia to refund passengers


The government has directed international airline company Air Arabia to refund passengers.

A meeting held at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has directed the airline company to return the amount to passengers for hotel quarantine.

After receiving complaints from passengers regarding the airline company charging expensive airfare as well as making the passengers to pay for hotel quarantine, the ministry has directed airline to refund the passengers.

On August 25, Air Arabia had carried back 161 passengers from Sharjah in United Arab Emirates. Of them, MoCTCA has directed the airline to refund 142 passengers.

The airline company had carried 142 passengers with polymerise chain reaction (PCR) report, 18 passengers with rapid diagnostic test (RDT) report and one passenger who had not done any COVID-19 test. However, the company kept all the passengers in hotel quarantine and charged them for the same.

As per a recent rule, if an airline company carries passengers with PCR report and passengers without PCR report on the same flight, the firm has to pay for the hotel quarantine of the passengers.

Amid this, MoCTCA has also asked the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) to direct all international airline companies to set airfare similar to that of Nepal Airlines Corporation and Himalaya Airlines in sectors that the domestic airlines are offering services. After receiving complaints of passengers being charged randomly by the travel agencies, MoCTCA has requested Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) to cooperate and coordinate with the diplomatic missions to sort out this issue.

The meeting has also directed authorities to monitor black marketing and maintain transparency on airfare. Similarly, in case of chartered flights, MoCTCA has directed CAAN to make airline companies aware about the airfare set by the government and follow accordingly.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 3, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.