Air travellers should brace themselves for another round of air fare hike this festive season. And travel agents will have to learn to live without the commission on tickets they get from airlines.
All this is an attempt by the airline industry to offset a part of their losses that it has incurred due to steep hike in global crude oil prices during the past few months. Private carriers Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines have announced fare hikes but the quantum has not yet been decided.
“With the advent of the festive season, the special off-peak fares that were being offered by Kingfisher Airlines will now revert back to their original levels,” a Kingfisher Airlines spokesman said on Friday. “This will apply to basic fares and will be applicable from October 1, 2008.”
“We have not decided on increasing air fare, but we intend to do so during the festive season,” said Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, chief executive, Jet Airways recently. “Even if we do so, the fare hike will not be very high.”
An Air India spokesperson chose not to comment on the issue.While air travellers will have to pay more in the days to come, travel agents will have to do without the ‘commissions’ on tickets sold through with airlines deciding to do away with the five per cent commission for travel agents from November 1.
The airline industry is of the view that commissions, at a time when the industry is suffering from huge losses, will save to the tune of Rs 800 crore.There are over 30,000 travel agents in India and about 3,000 of them are accredited to the International Air Travel Association (IATA).
Travel agents said the move will prove counterproductive for air carriers as bulk of the traffic is driven by travel agents.“Travel agent is like a tree and airlines are sitting on the branches and cutting the same branch that they are sitting on,” said Subhash Goyal, chairman, STIC Travels.