agents to stop airline ticket sales from 16th
KARACHI: Travel agents
would stop selling tickets of top airliners
if downward revision of profit margins on ticket
sales is not reversed by July 16, a Travel Agents
Association of Pakistan (TAAP) representative
told Daily Times on Tuesday.
“We (travel agents) have offered airliners
dialogue to settle down the issue because aggressive
tactics would destabilise the aviation industry,”
TAAP Central Chairman Mohammad Naeem Sharif
The airlines - Qatar Airways, Emirates, Gulf
Airlines, Ettihad Airways and Pakistan International
Airline (PIA) - have decided to reduce share
of the travel agencies on national and international
ticket sales from nine percent to five percent
to be effective from July 16. These airlines
make up 75 percent of Pakistan’s air traffic.
The airlines have changed their fare mechanism
reducing basic fare, while increasing the fuel
surcharges to make up for the increasing cost
of operation, Sharif said. The catch is that
the travel agencies get their profits on the
basic fare, he added, hence the move is unfair
Sharif said the cut would lead to losses in
billions of rupees to the travelling industry,
and may even lead to bankruptcy and unemployment,
adding that the government would lose billions
of rupees with a fall in tax returns.
Loss: The revenues of the travelling agencies
would be cut by Rs 24.5 billion, while the government
would lose Rs 2.5 billion. The TAAP executive
committee met PIA officials on Tuesday to convey
demands of the agents and negotiations with
the airliners would continue until July 16,
TAAP regional general body held meetings on
Tuesday in Karachi and Lahore. Similar meetings
would be held in Islamabad and Peshawar on Wednesday
TAAP executive members would meet PIA chief
and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman
today to discuss the issue. TAAP is a sole body
of travel agents with affiliates numbering over
nine hundred across the country.
Airblue first cut the profit margin to arrest
its rising operational cost and without passing
the increase to the passengers. Travel agents
had boycotted the airline ticket and the issue
was later resolved.
The airline companies all over the world have
been cutting operational costs due to massive
losses during 2008 in the wake of rising fuel
costs. Twenty-four airlines have reported bankruptcy
during the last six months.
International Air Transport Association’s
Director General Giovanni Bisignani said that
the airline industry problems have multiplied
due to crude price shooting beyond $145 per
barrel, incurring an overall loss of $2.30 billion.