New Delhi: Left parties on Thursday extended their support to travel agents, who are planning an agitation against the government for allowing airlines to completely do away with payment of commission to them.
The travel service sector which employs more than 10 lakh people in the country and accounts for more than 97% of all air ticket bookings are no longer eligible for their 5% commission on ticket sales from 1 November onwards.
About 15 airlines cited pending losses to the industry to justify their move against paying commission to agents.
The move was backed by the civil aviation ministry which acceded to suggestions from the airways — including Lufthansa, Jet Airways, Kingfisher among others — and had asked the agents to earn their revenue by charging clients additional fees ranging from Rs350 to Rs10,000.
At a meeting of the IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI), senior CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said that all 61 members of Left parties in Parliament will take up the issue once the session begins in December.
“The civil aviation ministry is not a private airlines ministry. The ATF prices have been slashed from $147 to $57 and excise duties have been reduced.”
“Why then did the government go ahead with stealing the livelihoods of people. We will protest this and seek to reinstate your earnings. I assure you of our support,” said Karat.