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SWISS to speed up airfare refunds

Published on 23/07/2020

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) plans to speed up the refund process for airline tickets purchased via travel agencies affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The company announced on Thursday that it was aiming to process all refund requests made before the end of June by the end of August.

“On July 27, 2020, SWISS will reactivate the refund functionalities in all reservation systems (GDS) for travel agencies,” it said.

The automatic online refund function had been adapted in order to prevent possible fraud, it added. It stressed that many of the earlier airfare refunds had been paid out.

SWISS had come in for criticism from travel agencies for failing to promptly refund tickets for flights that were cancelled or could not be taken by passengers due to the pandemic.

In the event of cancellations such as those prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic, Swiss package tour operators are legally obliged to provide refunds. But Thomas Stirnimann, the chief executive officer of the Hotelplan travel agency group, complained in May that SWISS was not repaying the travel agents fast enough.

SWISS told swissinfo.ch at the time that it was indeed refunding individual customers as well as agencies, but that these payments were taking longer than usual due to the high demand.

In May, the Swiss parliament approved a credit of CHF1.875 billion ($1.92 billion) to support SWISS and other aviation companies that ensure vital transport infrastructure for the Swiss economy.