The rift between foreign airlines operating in the country and travel agents over commission payments seems to be coming to an end with the DGCA today holding a meeting of their representatives to finalise the government’s stand on the issue.

The meeting came in the backdrop of a Kerala High Court directive to ensure commissions for the agents from this month-end and the Karnataka High Court wanting the foreign airlines to explain their position regarding the global norms of the issue, including that decided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

While the airlines have been insisting on the ‘zero commission’ concept which is now in vogue in most of the western nations, travel agents have been arguing that no commission payment would starve small and medium agencies which are already hit by the economic meltdown and sharp decline in air travel.

In a global recession, foreign carriers will look at any opportunity where they can make a bit of money

Since late last year, about 16 foreign airlines that included Air Canada, Air France, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, North West Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Swiss International Airlines and United Airlines reduced commission for travel agents to 0%. In the suit filed in HC, Travel Agents Association of India had alleged that these airlines were misinterpreting an IATA resolution and saying payment of 0% commission was well within the meaning of paying some commission.

The airline industry globally is in such a bad shape that they really don’t see much value. Airlines will now think twice or thrice to offer commission payments to travel agents as they feel the heat of global meltdown.

“There has been already a sharp fall in travel agents in India with IATA accreditation and if now zero commission concept gets approval will affect more small and media travel agencies in India” said Onestopshop Retail service official