Travel agents boycott airlines offering no commission

November 1st, 2008 - 4:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 1 (IANS) Air travel agents in Kerala Saturday stopped selling tickets of those airlines which withdrew the five percent agent’s commission on tickets.Several air operators, looking for ways to cut down expenditure, have scrapped the commission on tickets sold by the agents from Saturday.

IATA Agents Association of India national president Biji Eapen said the boycott was total, and all big and small agents had joined the protest.

“The biggest loser in this mode of selling tickets is the passengers, who will now have to pay a higher amount because the airlines will collect the full fare from them. And the biggest gainer would be the airlines, who will now add the five percent (commission amount) to their kitty,” said Eapen.

Airlines like Air India, Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Kingfisher, Etihad and Qatar Airways have decided to withdraw the five percent agent commission.

However, British Airways, Emirates, Gulf Air, Oman Air, Sri Lankan Airlines and Malaysia Airlines will continue to offer the commission.

Earlier, Aug 24, the travel agents and their staff in Kerala staged a sit-in before the seven Air India offices in the state to protest against the airline’s decision.

K.V. Muraleedharan, general convenor of the Travel and Tourism Coordination Forum, an umbrella organisation of travel, tourism and recruiting agents in Kerala, said the total boycott of airlines offering no commission will not be practical.

“What we will do in the coming days would be non-cooperation with the airlines who are giving us a raw deal. You wait and see as we have several strategies, and can cause hiccups to these airlines,” said Muraleedharan, adding the airlines operating with below 60 percent load factor will be hit hard.

“The real impact of our boycott will be evident in about two weeks time because those who are travelling now have taken their tickets before the commission was withdrawn and hence to get a clear picture of how the airline companies face this, one will have to wait,” said Eapen.

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