Travel agents suspend operations

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Ahmedabad, Aug 14 (UNI) At least 350 major travel agents of Gujarat today stayed away from work to protest Airlines decision not to extend five per cent commission till April next year.

Bhavin Shah, member, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), told UNI that Airlines currently pay a commission of five per cent to registered travel agents for bookings, but have decided to discontinue the practice from November 1.

Airlines have decided to adopt a 'zero commission' policy for travel agents due to the losses they are suffering due to high aviation turbine fuel costs.

Mr Shah pointed out almost 70 per cent of their revenue is dependent on this commission. With airfares continuously rising and domestic travel declining, passing on this charge to passengers is not a risk they are willing to take. Hence, the travel agents have to bear the brunt of it.

He said Gujarat's daily ticketing business is between Rs 1.5 to Rs 2 crore.

''With more than 2000 travel agents across the country deciding to stop operations, airline schedules could be severely crippled, as almost 80 per cent of seats of the airlines are sold via travel agents'', Mr Shah said.

UNI HT OBB BDP AS1612

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