Hike in passenger disruptions cases in aviation industry

18 April,2024 07:08 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Prasun Choudhari

Number of passengers affected in Mar 2024 as compared to Mar 2023 increased dramatically

Number of passengers affected has surged. Representation Pic

In March 2024, the aviation industry witnessed a substantial increase in the number of affected passengers compared to the same period last year, despite a marginal rise in the total number of passengers flown. According to recent data, the total number of passengers in March 2024 reached 133.67 lakh, marking a mere 2 per cent increase from March 2023's 130.92 lakh. However, the number of passengers affected by various issues surged dramatically, showing a staggering 50.8 per cent increase in March 2024 as compared to March 2023.

The impact of this surge is particularly notable when considering the number of affected passengers. In March 2023, 1,50,829 passengers were affected by various disruptions such as flight cancellations, delays, and denied boarding. In contrast, March 2024 saw a significant rise in the number of affected passengers, reaching a concerning 2,27,487 individuals. A senior DGCA official told mid-day, "It is quite concerning that the number of passengers getting affected has increased at this rate. We have received a total of 730 complaints last month, which is way higher than that compared to March 2023, when there were 347 complaints."

Capt. Mohan Ranganathan, an aviation expert, said, "Passengers are used to a low fare and the fares have increased. If there are delays and cancellations, the refund rules are loaded towards the airlines and not to the passenger's benefit. All the rules that the ministry and DGCA have formed have several grey areas, the airlines can use and deny repayments or refunds, resulting in an increased amount of tension and conflicts between airlines and passengers. The staff has also become rude off late in some of the airlines.

He added on how the airlines are obligated to make sure of the passenger's interests, stating, "The airline industry is customer oriented but of late it is becoming more like the passenger has no options. Another very important thing is that once a boarding pass is issued to a passenger, it is a contract between the passenger and the airline, wherein it is the airline's responsibility. In cases of delays and cancellations, the airlines have to take care of all the expenses like arranging for an alternate flight in cases of cancellations and deboarding, along with providing refreshments to the passengers. In such conditions, the regulator is playing into the hands of the airlines The CAR (Civil Aviation Requirements) has never been enforced in any such cases. Airlines are the ones controlling the DGCA, which is why
no stringent action has been taken."

No of passengers affected in March 2024

Complaints lodged with DGCA in March 2024

1. Alliance Air 59
2.AIX connect 9
3. Air India 222
4. Akasa Air 25
5. Indigo 106
6. SpiceJet 262
7. Vistara 3
8. Fly Big 3
9. Indonesia Air 27
10. Star Air 12
11. Fly91 2

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