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Travel agents to block AI tickets sale from today

Our Bureau

Mumbai , March 31

TRAVEL agents, protesting against the proposed reduction in their commission from 7 per cent to 5 per cent, have said they will not accept bookings for Air India and Air India Express from Friday.

A statement jointly issued by the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), the IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI), the Enterprising Travel Agents Association (ETAA), the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) and the Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) said that all agent members of the said associations were suspending sale of tickets of Air India and its subsidiaries such as Air India Express.

"No bookings shall be made on Air India or Air India Express effective April 1,'' it said.

Further, members would be boycotting social functions, FAM trips, award ceremonies and official invitations from the airlines and their tourist promotion boards. They are also in the process of returning promotional material of Air India.

While the statement called the move a response to the reduction in commission from May 1, "initiated by Air India and followed by the European carriers, Singapore Airlines and Asiana Airlines,'' it mentioned no steps taken against carriers other than Air India.

When contacted, Mr Balbir Mayal, President, TAAI, said that in the last round of demand by carriers for a cut in commission from 7 per cent to 5 per cent, Air India had supported the travel agents. That was in September 2004 and the carrier's move was successfully thwarted. However, Air India subsequently appears to have succumbed to pressure from foreign carriers and taken the lead in demanding the cut in commission this time around.

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