Travel agents to close down operations tomorrow

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Mumbai, Aug 13 (UNI) Travel agents across the nation will not operate tomorrow to protest the decision of the Airlines in the country not to extend the five per cent commission upto April next year.

Even as the decision would impact a large number of last minute travellers in view of the long weekend following the Independence Day on Friday, Aviation industry sources said it might not have any impact, though low cost carriers who have reduced manpower would suffer.

The announcement of zero per cent commission to travel agents by the airlines has sent the travel industry into turmoil. There have been a series of meetings between the airlines and agents to take this issue ahead and the agents' community had also presented a charter of demands to the airlines on July 24. They would be having another round of meeting tomorrow.

The airlines had said they would react to the recommendations within two weeks. However, even after three weeks there has been no communication from the airlines and the only communication received is that the airlines would defer their decision on implementation to only till November one as against October one announced earlier.

This has lead to uncertainty in the minds of the agents community, numbering nearly 53,000 as they feel that airlines are just buying time and are not looking at their requests constructively.

Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) in a release here said the implementation of zero will have an effect on the consumers. It meant that the consumer would now have to compensate for the income of the travel agent which was erstwhile coming from the airline. It ultimately means that the price of the ticket would now increase.

The token bandh was to create awareness of this situation. ''We strongly believe that the travel agent makes travel simple. The travel agent helps and contributes largely to the conveniences of the customer and is an important selling arm of the airline. We believe that both should realise the importance of the agent and should value their contribution,'' Ms Shubhada Joshi, Secretary General of TAAI said.


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