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India's travel consultants shut in action against airlines
Renuka Vijay Kumar, Mumbai, May 7, 2013


TRAVEL agencies across India are banding together to close for business today in protest against a cut in commissions.


According to Jay Bhatia, chairman – Western region, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), at least 1,000 travel consultants have pledged not to open today. Large international travel companies who declined to be named have said they will remain closed, and other associations such as the Travel Agents Federation of India have also thrown their weight behind the move.


At the heart of the issue is the zero commission policy, which India’s travel trade has repeatedly lobbied against since it took effect in January. Discussions with airlines and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation have not yielded positive results.


The impact has also been exacerbated by the recent unbundling of services from airfare prices (TTG Asia e-Daily, May 2, 2013).


Lamented a travel consultant who requested anonymity: “We are already not making any money from booking air tickets.”


As of this morning, a letter of appeal had made rounds on social media to IATA and non-IATA agencies asking them to remain shut.


Iqbal Mulla, president, TAAI, said: “National and international airlines have adopted unethical practices which are not in favour of the passenger or the consultant.


“We need to safeguard the rights of consultants and issues affecting their business and threatening their survival such as the weekly settlement system, disparity in fares, etc.”


Bhatia added: “We need to stop this cartelisation of airlines. We need to regulate fares (especially during holidays and long weekends) and ensure that airlines maintain complete transparency in setting airfares.”


He said travel consultants demanded a regulatory body to prevent the exploitation of airfares, while also challenging the conversion of the existing fortnightly payment to a weekly one.


Bhatia estimated that the one-day shutdown would cost airlines an estimated Rs1 billion (US$18.2 million) in business from Mumbai alone, while a TAAI source said airlines would lose Rs400 million from New Delhi.


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What the rational of this action? You will cripple your own economy. You depend on airlines seats and that your business and you are allowed and authorize to sell to any body wishes to buy from you .and that also depends very much on your service. Why only one day. If you want to show your strength then you have to go one month. Then your bargain has meaning. One day is nothing since customers can go online or airlines office or non members of your association. Since the products does not belong to you you have very little on control. Now most of the airlines are having their own website bookings and many of those citizens there willing to assist their friends and families to buy online. Today I know you keep our money for more then a week before you settle the airlines . Where in the world you can find business on credits like this . Your license is bigger then the Banks . Even commercial banks give interest on deposits taking. Well my advice is this purely a commercial decision . You can talk to individual airline and be in smart partnership rather then resorting to something that will do more harm then good to the economy.
Posted by: AKHNIDAR
09-05-2013 17:14:03
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