India’s aviation regulator is to face the high court in Kerala for failing to react against foreign airlines which ceased making commission payments to travel agents on the airline tickets they sold. Members of the Iata Agents Association of India asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to demand that the 5 per cent payment on the sale of tickets was re-established by 16 foreign carriers after they announced that they would not be continuing the practice.
In 2008, Singapore Airlines announced that instead of receiving commission from the carrier, travel agents should charge customers directly. Among the airlines to follow Singapore’s lead were Qatar Airways, Lufthansa, Japan Airlines, Air France, Air Canada, British Airways and Austrian Airlines.
The move saw travel agents’ associations across the country boycott the airlines. Council for IAAI, Ravindran P., said the contempt of court proceedings meant that all public servants involved in the case would no longer be able to seek government assistance.
Civil aviation director general, Bharat Bhushan, said he could not comment on the details of the case but that his department had consulted the law ministry before making any decisions and that he would be looking to submit a counter-affidavit.
K.R. Maheswahi, joint director of the DGCA, apparently filed ultimatums that the airlines comply with the law, but no further action was taken to enforce this, according to Biji Eapen, IAAI’s president. Jet Airways and Air India initially joined in with non-payment of commission but reversed the decision after a boycott by travel agents.
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