GoFirst files for bankruptcy, cancels flights

TAAI concerned over fate of ticket refunds for travellers & travel agents


May 3, 2023

/ By / New Delhi

GoFirst files for bankruptcy, cancels flights

Thousands of passengers have been left stranded at the airports across the country

Mumbai-based Wadia Group owned airline GoFirst has filed for bankruptcy and cancelled all flights from today, leaving thousands of passengers clueless about their tickets. India’s largest travel agent association, TAAI, has expressed concern over the fate of passengers and travel agents and calls upon government to ensure refunds for all.

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Almost four years after Jet Airways shut down operations and declared bankruptcy, cash-strapped airline Go First has become the first Indian airline to go the same route as the Wadia Group company suddenly filed for bankruptcy late on Tuesday, blaming ‘faulty’ Pratt & Whitney engines for the grounding of about half its fleet.

Thousands of passengers have been left stranded at the airports across the country following the sudden move by the airline and caused major upheaval in the struggling tourism industry which had just about begun to recover from the three years of pandemic-induced shutdown.

In a press statement, Jyoti Mayal, President of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), the oldest and largest travel trade association in the country, has expressed concern over the sudden cancellation of all flights by the airline.

Mayal said that it has put the aviation industry in shock. Mayal commented on the struggles faced by the industry regarding correct procedures and protocols, stating it was surprising that a country considered a power centre faces such challenges again and again pertaining to the aviation sector.

The cancellations and refunds of tickets to its members and consumers have raised concerns at TAAI, who fear that travel agents will be adversely affected, presenting a significant financial blow as they struggle to revive post-Covid19.

TAAI has been advocating to the Government of India, Ministry of Aviation, Ministry of Tourism, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself to ensure the security of the travel industry and consumers, and address airline defaults. The association has been advocating for protection through insurance on tickets or placing monies in an escrow account with the government as protection for the entire ecosystem, most importantly the service providers, says the statement.

As the President of the largest and oldest premier body, Mayal expressed concern that the government is refusing to hear them and implement better policies. The government, along with the Ministry of Aviation and Tourism, needs to bring policies to safeguard consumer’s and service provider’s money. TAAI has been promised by the Ministry of Aviation to establish a National Task Force with airlines and the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), but weak policies and governance will impact the opening of multiple airports and make the aviation industry fragile.

Mayal stressed that travel and tourism service providers are a vital part of the growth of this country and the responsibility of the government. The vision of a USD 5 trillion economy cannot be achieved with such setbacks. Mayal has called upon Modi to look into their woes and finds a solution with their support to make them a part of the growth and save them from being crippled.



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