Air Travel Agents to 'ground' services Aug 14

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Chennai, Aug 13 (UNI) About 2,800 authorised Air Travel Agents and more than 50,000 sub-agents will down their shutters for a day tomorrow demanding a decent remuneration in lieu of the airliners' decision to reduce the Travel Agency Commission from five per cent to zero with effect from October one.

Talking to reporters here today, Travel Agents Association of India Southern Chapter Chairman C K Ashok, Travel Agents Federation of India TN Chapter Chairman A Basheer Ahmed and IATA Agents Association of India TN Chairman T K Gopakumar said the strike was to show their solidarity and make the airliners' realise the importance of Travel Agents.

Billing by travel agents for the year 2007-08 was to the tune of Rs 26,000 crore, which contributed more than 90 per cent of the total sale of air tickets by the Airliners.

''How can they (the airliners) do away with such service providers (travel agents) who give 90 per cent of business to them?'' they asked.

Asserting the travel agents were per se not against the zero per cent commission, they said ''we have to be suitably remunerated by working out modalities to arrive at a win-win situation both for the airliners and the agents,'' they added.

''We have demanded 'some' percentage from the airliners on the total fare being charged by them. A meeting is scheduled to be held in Mumbai tomorrow, where we expect a positive response from the airline representatives,'' they said.

Mr Ashok said the travel agents also wanted the airlines to introduce the zero per cent commission from May next year instead of October this year.

''The one month grace time to introduce it from November instead of October is not acceptable as the travel agents have to meet some contracual obligations with corporates, to which we were committed on prices. The change of plan midway will affect us badly. The contract will end in April and the airlines can introduce it from May next year,'' they said.

Their other demands included complete revamping of remuneration plan in consultation with the agents.

UNI GV RP HT1745

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