Agents to protest against commission denial by foreign airlines

January 27th, 2009 - 4:32 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 27 (IANS) Travel agents across the country will launch a fresh round of protests Jan 30 against those foreign carriers which have refused to pay them commission, an agents body said Tuesday.Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) president Rajender Rai told IANS that 12 foreign airlines, including Singapore International Airlines (SIA), were not paying commission to the agents.

“All travel agents across the country will observe protest on Jan 30 against foreign airlines as they continue to deprive us of commission on their air ticket bookings. As of now, we are not booking their tickets,” Rai said.

He said agents’ associations have spoken to foreign airlines in this regard.

If Singapore Airlines, one of the largest foreign carriers operating into India, agrees to the agents’ demands, others would fall in line, he said. SIA operates 48 weekly flights to various cities in India.

Lufthansa Airlines, Qatar Airways, Air France, Northwest Airlines and KLM are the other major airlines that are not paying the agents commission.

The agents settled the commission controversy with domestic carriers and a few foreign airlines last month after protests.

The domestic carriers, whose decision to scrap the 5 percent commission forced the agents to go in for protests, later agreed to pay 3 percent of airfare.

Speaking on the operators’ reluctance to pay commission, a foreign airline official said there would be a temporary reduction in flights to India. “This is one reason why we are not willing to pay commission. This would only add to our losses,” he said.

The foreign carriers that do not pay commission to agents in India are selling tickets through their offices and websites. About 85 percent of airline bookings in India are done through travel agents, including online agencies.

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