Travel agents threaten to stop selling air tickets

July 22nd, 2008 - 7:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) Travel agents across the country have threatened to stop selling air tickets if airlines fail to restore commissions, their association said Tuesday. Travel agents will meet leading airlines July 24 here in New Delhi in a bid to resolve the issue.

Domestic airlines Air India, Jet Airways, and Kingfisher had sent letters to travel agents last month that no commissions would be given to them from October 1 of this year.

Foreign carriers too, such as Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and British Airways among others, informed travel agents that they would not be able to pay them commissions from October 1 of this year.

By scrapping commissions, the airlines industry is expected to save over Rs.10 billion every year, said an airline official.

Airlines have been giving agents 5 percent of their base fare on the tickets as commission, a recent reduction from the earlier 9 percent.

Representatives of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), Travel Association Federation of India (AFI) and Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) met in Mumbai Tuesday to discuss the modalities for its meeting with the airlines this week.

The three associations have decided they would stop selling tickets if the meeting between them and the airlines failed to resolve the commission issue.

TAAI, AFI and IATO represent about 5,000 IATA-accredited international and domestic agents. They control over 85 percent of the total air ticketing business in India.

But if travel agents stop selling air tickets, it would make it difficult for the air travellers to book or cancel tickets.

Booking through internet or through company-owned ticketing counters is largely resorted to by those booking international tickets. Domestic travellers, however, prefer booking or cancelling their tickets through travel agents.

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