TAAI members to boycott Air France, KLM-NW Combine

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Mumbai, Nov 7 (UNI) The Travel Agents Association of India(TAAI) today said its members will boycott with immediate effect the sale of tickets for Air France, KLM and NW Combine until further notice.

The boycott is in protest against the Airlines, who are not agreeing to include transaction cost in its fare, TAAI said here in a statement.

Travel agencies are staunchly resisting the 14 airlines, who have gone to zero Commission and who claim that they need to cut costs to remain competitive in the increasingly challenging industry.

The Association felt that with the industry in the midst of heavy turmoil and posting huge losses, it was not the right time to push zero percentage, specially when the agents contribute 80 to 85 per cent of the business of travel to airlines. Any further loss of load factor would be a potential disaster for these airlines, which could easily happen due to non-cooperation by agents, the Association said.

However, with many airlines firm going ahead and implementing zero commission from November 1, TAAI has been in constant talks with them to include a ''Transaction fee'' in the ticket being presented to the travelers. This would protect the agents by giving them a fixed amount of income for all their services in spite of zero commission. With over thee months of discussions and parallel meetings, many airlines such as Air India, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines and Singapore Airlines are now in agreement and are including a transaction fee in their published air fares.

However, there are various lacunae that still need to be sorted out between the airlines and the agents, before it can be implemented successfully. Firstly, there is the issue of cut and pay which currently is not in place and this entire payment is lodged with the airlines by the agents and a credit note would be issued after the billing cycle is complete - this is not acceptable to the agents. Secondly the IATA contract between the principal (Airlines) and the agent specifies that a fair remuneration is also to be paid to him for his services rendered. This has not been agreed to by the airlines since the matter is under sub-judice in Calcutta High Court; wherein an agent Paras travels has filed a case against NACIL.

Apart from this; TAAI strongly feels that all the 14 airlines who have gone to zero commission, must apply the transaction fee module, but only four to five airlines have agreed to this module. If the airlines do not agree to the conditions stated above, TAAI would be forced to inform the membership not to sign the transaction fee agreement, the release added.

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