Agents with travellers holding onto unused or partially flown Air Australia tickets can now expect a refund after the grounded carriers administrators announced refunds will be processed via BSPlink.
A little more than a month after announcing the carrier had suspended services to deal with financial difficulties, an Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) release said funds held by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in the BSP had been preserved and would be used to provide refunds to passengers left stranded.
IATA said Refund Applications filed by travel agents in BPSlink would be administered, however, agents would need to ensure the Refund Application is completed and submitted by 6 April this year for all Air Australia tickets reports as CASH paid, not flown or partially used, using the Refund Application - RA Issue option in BSPlink under the new Suspended Airlines menu.
As the aviation Group will only refund cash and not credit card payments, IATA also stressed that credit card refund requests would need to be addressed directly with the airline or the credit card issuing company.
It is important to note, that at this stage there is no confirmed amount in respect to tickets issued by BSP and for which a refund will be eligible, an AFTA statement read.
This amount bears no reconciliation to the amount held by IATA as the amount held is the amount that had not been remitted to the airline at the time of the collapse.
Therefore all refunds will NOT be eligible for a 100% refund.
At this stage it is not known exactly how much in the dollar will be refunded, but nevertheless, this result is better than no refund at all and the funds held by IATA being seized by the administrator for use with creditors.
AFTA chief executive Jayson Westbury said the reserved funds were good news for agents and consumers and stressed the agents Federation would continue to push for the Government to take action and prevent placing agents in similar situations at the event of an airline collapse.
In addition, AFTA noted it had taken the issue to the Federal Minister for Tourism and requested a meeting to discuss how airline regulations for start-up airlines including the financial monitoring and in particular how airlines treat moneys held for air travel that has not been flown is treated.
In the end airlines will come and go, but what the industry really needs is better controls in place by government to not only ensure the safety of the travelling public but also ensure the financial certainty and fairness for travel agents who are always in the middle when these collapses occur, Mr Westbury concluded.
Air Tickets will also work with AFTA and IATA to issue refunds for all eligible Air Australia tickets.
The companys general manager of air tickets Russell Cartensen said it was devoting its service team onto refunds that qualify.
I anticipate the refunds will be processed within seven days and we will forward any money due, without Air Tickets fees, once we get it, Mr Carstensen said.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J