The announcement made by the Alitalia (IATA code: 055) states that flights departing October 15, 2021, shall not be sold and has been placed under Extraordinary Administration from August 25, 2021, by the Ministry of Economic Development in Italy.
The airline is undergoing formal bankruptcy, reorganisation and liquidation.
TAAI, India’s premier and largest travel association, has urged MoCA to direct IATA to ensure all refunds are processed by the Airline and not place it under suspension as per the IATA-BSP rules.
Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI, in her communication to MoCA, stated that no credit shells shall be acceptable and all refunds should be refunded back in cash into the bank accounts of Accredited Member Agents immediately. Taking prompt cognizance of the issue, “TAAI is in touch with the highest echelons in the Government of India, especially the ones dealing on the subject, sensitising them about the need of taking immediate measures and stern steps to protect the interest of the Indian travel agent’s fraternity, stakeholders dealing directly and indirectly with the airlines, and above all the people of India,” states Mayal.
Jay Bhatia, Vice President of the nodal Association, informed that IATA and the Government have been urged to obtain Financial Security Deposit and/or alternative security in the interim, thereby safeguarding the funds of the Indian travellers/ agents. The same should be applicable to all Airlines, their GSA’s/representative cos, who are responsible for all airline operations/ liaison and handling in India.
IATA has been requested, to ensure sufficient financial corpus is held in escrow, from the airline until all outstandings with accredited member agencies and travellers are settled by Alitalia. Further, it must be strictly ensured and no payouts to Alitalia through BSP should be effected since only refunds shall be transacted. The outstanding from the Airline is expected to be in crores of Rupees, stated Bettaiah Lokesh, Hon. Secretary General, TAAI
Mayal reterieted that the Travellers and the Travel Agents are the ones always facing the brunt and challenges. She urged the MoCA to open a window to interact with the Association at regular intervals and prepare policies protecting interest of the Indian Citizens with the travel agent fraternity, otherwise having a dedicated Civil Aviation Ministry is ineffective and pointless.
Hon. Treasurer, Shreeram Patel, states that we have requested MoCA to issue an instant circular/notification to the Citizens of India to come forward and claim refund, if any, on all partly or fully unutilised tickets/ packages/ passes/ loyalty points, booked through all sales channels including travel agents, online website/airline’s airport and sales counters, etc.
TAAI reassures its stand and commitment, to its Members and the Indian Travel and Tourism fraternity, that it will do its best to safeguard the interest of each and every member of the trade be it, travel agents/ tour operators, Citizens of India and all stakeholders by protecting their interest with the help of the Government of India and IATA.