4,000 travel agents to go on strike on Today

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BANGALORE: Travel agents registered with IATA ( International Air Transport Association) will go on a one-day token strike on Tuesday. In a press conference held in the city, the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) announced the token strike to protest against the recent announcements made by the ministry of civil aviation about levying extra charges on passengers for various services.

About 4000-odd members of TAAI in India and 150 members in Bangalore will keep their shutters down on Tuesday. Karnataka in all has 250 members of TAAI, registered with IATA.

“The steps adopted by the ministry of civil aviation and the airlines are forcing us to levy extra charges on public and costumers are burdened. Travel agents are also not paid enough commission, which is affecting us badly,” said Anil Kumar, chairman, TAAI, Karnataka chapter.

The travel agents have claimed that they have been losing out on commission due to the policies adopted by the airlines and the ministry. “We have been forced to reduce our commission from 9% to 7% between 2005 and 2012. This has affected our prospects,” said Lokesh P, member, managing committee, TAAI.

The association members claimed that bus and taxi services provided by the members who are supporting the strike will be affected on Tuesday.

“We want to make the public aware of what is happening in the civil aviation industry in the recent past, the changes which are in the air are likely to have a direct bearing on customers’ budgeting and travelling expenses,” claimed the association members.

They also sought an explanation from the Minister of Civil Aviation on the reasons behind allowing airlines to unbundle their tariff structures. They alleged that the recent decision taken by the ministry to allow the airlines to levy extra charges on ‘preferred’ services by the customers is nothing but ‘having no published M.R.P. on the product.’

The ministry of civil aviation had in last week approved the airlines of collecting extra charges from the passengers for various preferred services like check-in baggage, seat booking preference, food and beverages etc. The ministry had cited ‘international practices’ adopted by airlines in the USA and the UK. This decision, if implemented will make air travel costlier.

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