Coronavirus: Business Travel Association urges airlines to offer cash refunds

Airlines are being urged to adhere to Iata regulations and offer cash refunds to corporate travellers.

The call came today from the Business Travel Association which accused many “major” foreign carriers of refusing to issue refunds even where flights have been cancelled as a result of government advice or action in contravention of Iata rules.

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They are instead offering vouchers, which prevent travel management companies from refunding corporate traveller clients and the companies they work for from recovering the money they have paid.

The travel vouchers are often valid for up to one year and will be lost if not used within that timeframe.

The BTA is calling on all airlines to offer cash refunds rather than vouchers, “and to do so via the quickest means possible”.

This will enable TMCs to reimburse clients and ensure that corporate travellers and their companies are not unfairly penalised at a time when all businesses are facing up to the challenges of coronavirus.

BTA chief executive Clive Wratten said: “We understand that these are very challenging times for the airline industry, but those difficulties are also being faced by other parts of the business travel supply chain and, indeed, across the wider business community.

“The business travel industry will play a vital role in the UK’s economic recovery but, for that to happen, we need to work together now to reduce the impact of Covid-19 for British businesses and put them in a stronger position to resume business travel as soon as this crisis situation ends.”

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