Travel agents to shut shop on August 14 to fight back airlines
By Krupa Vora | Mumbai
In a bid to give a strong fight to the airlines for the current commission cut scenario, 2,750 International Air Transport Association (IATA) accredited agents and 50,000 non-IATA agents will shut shops on August 14, 2008. The decision was taken at a joint meeting held between Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) and IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI) in Mumbai yesterday. Apart from this, the airlines and the associations will also hold a meeting on the shop shutting day to discuss the commission cut. Though the agents associations demanded the airlines to implement the zero commission regime from May 1, 2009, the airlines deferred it to November 1, 2008 from the previous deadline of October1, 2008. “When the commissions went down from seven to five per cent, Air India had given us in writing that the commissions will remain the same for the next four years. The four year deadline will get over on April 30, 2009 and hence the new commission should be implemented from May 1, 2009. We were unhappy when airlines deferred it to November 1, 2008,” said Praveen Chugh, President, TAFI.
According to the associations, the transaction fee should be combined with the ticket fare, rather than the agents asking for it separately. “No end consumer is going to pay for the transaction fee if it is asked separately, the transaction fee has to be bundled with the ticket,” added Chugh. Other demands by the associations to the airlines include, necessary budget for training travel agents, study tour, service tax on Profit Linked Bonus (PLB), insurance by airlines and service fee on Agency Debit Memo (ADM) and PLB for all agents.
Shuhdha Joshi, Honorary Secretary, TAAI said, “The zero per cent commission needs to be undertaken in a phased manner because there are corporate contracts which are signed on yearly basis. The back end structures need to change to adopt the zero commission regime. Training and education is required. All these things need time and cannot be undertaken in a haphazard manner.”
Source : TravelBizMonitor