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Air travellers to get more compensation for losses: Praful Patel

New Delhi, Thu, 01 May 2008 NI Wire

Now, air passengers will get more compensation money for delaying in the domestic flights, the official sources of Civil Aviation Ministry informed the media. The compensation money for any sort of bodily injury or death has also been hiked seven times from the current status. However, travellers may have to pay a bit more as operators are planning to hike air fares.

The union cabinet in Lok Sabha has passed the Carriage by Air (Amendment) Bill, 2008 on Wednesday. Adopting the exertion of Montreal Convention, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel has proposed to hike the compensation charges for delaying the domestic flights, loss of baggage and for any injury or death.

Presenting to amendment bill Civil Aviation Minister said, “I would like to mention that there is an international legal regime governing the liability of air carriers for injury or death of passengers, for destruction or loss of or damage to baggage and cargo, and losses caused by delay in international carriage of passengers, baggage and cargo.”

According to Air (Amendment) bill, the air player will have to pay the international travellers Rs.56 lakh as against the current Rs. 8 lakh for death or bodily injury, while any sort of baggage damage or loss, the new compensation would be up from Rs.800/- per kg to Rs. 960 per kg.

These rates would be applicable for both domestic as well as international flight operators. While after the Fifth Amendment in Carriage by Air bill, now Indian passengers will also be able to claim for this compensation even after beginning the journey from overseas.

The 86 countries have already rectified the Carriage by Air bill and India is now likely to join the club.

“This regime is set out in a number of international instruments. However, India has so far ratified only two instruments, namely the Warsaw Convention 1929; the Warsaw Convention as amended by The Hague Protocol 1955 and the same has been given effect to by the Carriage by Air Act 1972,” said Patel.

The bill has been forwarded to Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the parliament to pass it.

Meanwhile, Jet airways and its subsidiary Spice Jet have announced to raise the fuel surcharges viewing the spiralling prices of crude oil from May 02 and May 03 respectively. This may a result to an airfare hike of upto 8%.

Both the companies have announced to increase the Rs. 150 for short distance up to 750 km while for beyond it, the price rise would be Rs. 350. Now, after effect, the new prices of fuel surcharges will Rs. 1,950 and Rs. 2,350. It means, for getting the returned ticket of zero rupee cost, the customers will have to pay up to Rs. 7,000 because the cumulative price of the ticket would reach to Rs. 3,500 after inclusion all charges and taxes.

The prices of crude oil in the international market has crossed the USD 120 mark while the Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) that is injected in the aircrafts have been hiked by Rs 5,276 per 1,000 litre from Thursday midnight, as per an official of Indian Oil Corp, nation's largest fuel retailer informed.

The other airline companies include Indian and Air Indian has not commented so far and following the wait and watch situation.

But, the expert believes that some private players will soon hike the airfare viewing the price rise in oil and ready to pass Carriage by Air (Amendment) Bill, 2008, just after its implementation.

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