Move a protest against withdrawal of commissions.
Travel agents and online portals have stopped selling tickets of Jet Airways, the country’s largest private airline, and its low-cost subsidiary JetLite as a protest against the abolition of the 5 per cent commission to agents from November 1.
Passengers who want to book flights with either airline will have to log on to their websites or visit the airlines’ ticket sales office.
Travel agents and online portals account for more than 85 per cent of the airlines’ ticket sales. The decision was taken by six travel agent associations and travel portals at a meeting in Delhi on December 1 as a sign of firm protest against their stance on abolishing the 5 per cent commission to agents from November 1.
Full service carriers Kingfisher and Air India have also stopped paying commission, but the agents have focused on Jet which, as the market leader, has the influence to decide the issue. The airline accounts for more than 40 per cent of domestic airline revenues.
Indicating that the boycott could spread, Ajay Prakash, secretary, Travel Agents Federation of India, said "no airline should feel complacent".
Prakash said they had received a call from Jet Airways executives for another meeting. "We have told them we will only talk if they agree to a change in strategy," he added. Jet Airways executives were not available for comment.
According to statistics presented at the meeting, Jet’s daily revenues amount to more than Rs 18 crore, of which the agents account for Rs 16 crore.
Travel portals like Cleartrip, Yatra and Ezeego1 are not even displaying the option of the airline for any of the flights, Makemytrip shows the option but says both Jet and JetLite are "blocked airlines" and that tickets for neither are available for sale.
"We have decided to go ahead with no sales of Jet tickets until they decide to pay the commission," said Keyur Joshi of makemytrip.com.
The country’s largest consolidator Akbar Travels, which has a 10 per cent market share in the travel industry, has also decided not to sell Jet Airways tickets from today.
Industry sources said if the boycott continues for a week it will impact Jet’s loads since a fair amount of advance bookings for flights take place a week before the day of travel.
The agencies have had around eight meetings with airlines to persuade them reinstate the commission but to no avail. The airlines, in turn, have asked the agents to levy a transaction fee on customers of Rs 350 to Rs 10,000 per ticket in lieu of the commission, but agents are reluctant to do so in a falling market.
November 21: Left steps in as travel agents stop ticket sales