Kenya: Anxiety as airlines delay refunds amid coronavirus

APA-Nairobi (Kenya)

Kenyan travel agents on Friday voiced concern over delays by airlines to refund customers affected by cancellations of flights due to the coronavirus pandemic and called upon the International Air Travel Association (IATA) to intervene in the matter.

The Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) chief executive Agnes Mucuha said airlines are taking long to process refunds to travellers who had booked through travel agents, and this has created unnecessary anxiety and distress.

“The travel industry grounded to a halt in March 2020 following the government directive suspending all international flights into Kenya. Consequently, passengers who were holding bookings with airlines through their travel agents opted to cancel their itineraries and sought for full refunds,” she said.

Mucuha said KATA has engaged IATA to compel the airlines to pay back the money paid by travellers before the cancellation of their flights.

“In our engagement with IATA, they have cited that airlines are facing an unprecedented high volume of global refunds requests, and this has been the main cause for the processing delays.”

She revealed that most travel agents have temporarily closed shop as they do not have any travel-related business.

IATA on Thursday called for urgent action from African governments in Africa to provide financial relief to airlines, most of which have suffered huge losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.


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