Commission concerns prompt ABTA response

Commission concerns prompt ABTA response

ABTA is calling urgent meetings with key airline executives to express agents' concerns over commission cuts and other threats to their margins.

Aviation Committee chairman Sandy MacPherson said it was unlikely it could persuade carriers who had cut commission to reinstate the 9% rate but there were other ways they could work together for the benefit of both parties.

MacPherson, along with members of the Aviation Committee, will also raise fears that global airline alliances will implement group policies on payments.

Dates have been arranged with British Airways head of UK and Ireland sales Tiffany Hall, KLMand KLM UK director of sales Peter Cornwall, Lufthansa general manager UK and Ireland Eric Burgoyne and United Airlines UK general manager Brandon O'Reilly.

Other meetings are being arranged with other key airlines including British Midland and Virgin Atlantic.

"I want to sit down with key people on a one-to-one basis," said MacPherson. "I do not believe we should go into a huff. This does not work."

MacPherson predicts a wider use of service charges to make up for reduced commission.

"I can see service fees being the norm quicker than everyone thinks, maybe in two to three years," he said.

MacPherson said agents and ABTA would get nowhere by starting a tit-for-tat campaign to punish airlines that have cut rates. Some agents have called for a boycott of BA.

"Airlines have stretched loyalty to the limit and they do not want to alienate the people who give them 80% of their business. It is amazing how loyal agents are to people who are kicking them. I want to seek to persuade the airlines of the errors of their ways," he said.

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