Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), which represents thousands of travel agents across the country, on Wednesday announced that its members would stop promoting international airlines and plug only Indian carriers.

The decision, TAAI president Rajji Rai said, was taken in the wake of crisis affecting the national carrier, Air India, as well as to intensify the battle against the “zero commission” regime adopted by many international carriers.

Mr. Rai told presspersons here that while most carriers had resorted to zero commission regime, Air India, Kingfisher and Jet Airways reverted to 3 per cent commission regime following TAAI protest. This was why TAAI was reciprocating by extending support to Indian carriers, particularly Air India.

While promoting sale of tickets of Indian carriers, TAAI will up the ante against the zero commission regime. This, Mr. Rai said, would benefit Indian carriers on the one hand and will have a major impact on the ticket sales of international carriers. With TAAI boycotting Singapore Airlines (SIA) tickets, Mr. Rai claimed, the ticket sales of that airline had come down by 72.5 per cent during the current year, when compared with the first two quarters of 2008. Also, Cathay Airlines now leads in ticket sales to the U.S. especially to San Francisco and Los Angeles even as SIA saw its revenues on this sector being whittled down to two per cent vis-À-vis 2008, Mr. Rai claimed.

“If foreign airlines want to do business here, it should be within the means of what we feel is just.”

Even the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has sent a missive to all the carriers operating out of India to pay commission to travel agents as they were statutorily bound to do so, he added.