Dec 4, 2008

Business - India;Government to meet airlines over agents' commission issue

New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) The government Wednesday assured travel agents associations that it would take up their demand for restoration of a five percent agents commission with airlines.

The travel agents' representatives met Civil Aviation Secretary M. Madhavan Nambiar to discuss the ongoing impasse between the agents and the airlines over the commission fee that has been scrapped from Nov 1.

'Nambiar has assured us that he would discuss the issue with the airlines. But the government can only request the airline. But we still hope that something concrete would definitely emerge,' Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) president Rajender Rai told IANS after the meeting.

Six major organisations of agents, including TAAI, Travel Agents Federation of India and IATA Agents Association of India, Monday decided to stop selling tickets of India's leading private airline Jet Airways and its sister carrier JetLite Thursday, protesting against the air operators' decision to scrap the commission.

Rai said Jet Airways had called the associations for a meeting Wednesday. 'But we planned to meet the government first.'

'It is our right to claim commission on basic fares and all other charges for our services were already reduced. We (travel agents) are still not getting any commission from airlines,' said Rai.

About 85 percent of airline bookings in India are done through travel agents, including online agencies.