‘Taxing’ time for associations

The trade is shocked that airlines continue to charge Air Passenger Duty (APD) that had been abolished from March 1, 2016. TAAI and TAFI are now asking airlines for a refund.


HAZEL JAIN

The British Parliament had abolished Air Passenger Duty (APD) Tax for young adults of 12-15 years of age travelling from the UK with effect from March 1, 2016. This amount can range from Rs. 6,000 onwards depending on the class of booking. However, the travel agents have realised that some airlines continued to charge them for this. Two associations have raised their voice against this to make their members aware of this anomaly.

Reacting to this, Sampat Damani, Chairman Western Region, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), says, “We have taken up the matter with the airlines and they have agreed to process the refund. We have also informed our members and urged them to come forward if they have been charged Departure Tax. Please approach the airline and they will process your refund for the excess amount that has been charged. We have also sent out circulars and reminders. It was an error on part of the airlines and we have realised it. We are sure that it won’t happen again.”

The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) Managing Committee, on the other hand, has also sent out e-mailers to their members on this. On inquiries made with major carriers flying to London in the past couple of weeks, TAFI has been given to understand that no airline has sent any circular to the agents about this. Abbas Moiz, Chairman, TAFI Western Chapter, says, “TAFI National and TAFI Western India have been working together in getting down to the bottom of this APD Tax issue. We have been working since the last week of April to understand the issue and sent mails to the airlines to which their response was lacklustre.” He adds, “What is more disturbing is that the airlines knew about it but were keeping silent. While British Airways created a category of youth (12-15 year old), they chose not to disseminate this information to agents. A lot of airlines have now come forth and given advisories and links to claim refunds, but the onus of proving that the passenger was under 16 is now on the agents. We have to upload their passport copies and then claim the tax.”

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