Tuesday, July 08, 2008
KARACHI: Travel Agents Association of Pakistan (TAAP) has decided to protest a move by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and three Gulf carriers to cut the commission of travel agents to five per cent from nine.
The association will approach senior government officials and the management of PIA to try and convince them to restore the commission which was reduced as part of airline’s efforts to cut cost, following the continuous surge in fuel prices.
Managing Director PIA, Aijaz Haroon, told The News in categorical terms that the airline’s decision was final and there was no room for negotiations. “Our decision is final,” he said when this scribe asked him if discussions with TAAP were underway.
Refusal of PIA might lead to a fresh confrontation with TAAP members who have just recently come out of a similar confrontation with private carrier Airblue. “We have different options on the table,” said Secretary General TAAP Syed Mahmood Hussain Shah. “A three-day strike is one of those.”
Airblue has also reduced the commission of travel agents in a bid to distribute the burden of high fuel prices between the airline and its agents. That decision had led to a nationwide boycott of Airblue but the airline did not suffer because of its direct communication with customers through e-ticketing.
According to the new arrangement, Airblue has decided to increase its air fare on which the commission of travel agents is calculated. It had earlier lowered the fare and increased fuel surcharge, which had brought down the commission that travel agents earn on the sale of tickets.
PIA’s fuel surcharge and traveling fare are merged under one head and the airline gives a fixed commission to its travel agents. The national flag carrier along with Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways has cut the commission which will take effect on July 16. Though it has also ventured into e-ticketing, PIA still relies on travel agents for most its sales. —SH