Author Topic: Air tickets payments dispute taken-up with authorities  (Read 1349 times)

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Offline sithari

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Air tickets payments dispute taken-up with authorities
« on: August 18, 2006, 06:48:43 PM »
'Encouraging response' to travel industry position

Shirajiv Sirimane

TICKETING ISSUE: The travel industry is up in arms against a decision by the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR) to implement a system for air tickets to be bought in Sri Lanka in US$ and not in rupees, as being done now.

The three key associations in the airline industry in Colombo on Wednesday held a press conference in this regard and said that this move has not been sanctioned by the Government or endorsed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

President IATA Agents Association of Sri Lanka (IATASL) Dino de Fonseka, said that they have already made representations in this regard to the Minister of Aviation, Mangala Samaraweera and Director General Civil Aviation Authority and they have been very encouraging in their responses.

"We are confident that they will take up this matter positively as it would have a major negative impact on the economy and specially on the large number of house maids travelling overseas," he said.

He said that this decision on air-ticket payments is to be implemented on a recommendation of the BAR, which is headed by non-nationals.

Over 73,000 air tickets are sold per month, generating revenue in excess of Rs. 2.5 billion with the highest number of tickets being issued to Indian and Middle Eastern destinations.

Newly elected President of the Travel Agents Association of Sri Lanka (TAASL) Nihal Perera said that the US$ fluctuates in value and it very difficult to carry on with this move.

"If this plan is implemented it would be the first time that a customer would be paying for a product sold in Sri Lanka in foreign currency," he said.

He said this is the first time that all three associations got on to one platform and addressed this issue since it was a very serious one.

He said that the introduction of on line offers by the airlines too would cause them problems, as it is an indirect way to undercut travel agencies.

President Sri Lanka Association of Airline Representatives, (SLLAR) Gerard Amarasinghe said that they are going to take up this issue with the Consumer Protection Authority as well since it will cause tremendous hardships to both travel agents and customers.

He said that India too is not allowing this system and queried why such a scheme was needed in Sri Lanka where almost all direct transactions are done in Sri Lankan rupees.

He said that in addition to this the industry which employs over 6,000 is also facing other problems as the credit period to pay for an air ticket has been reduced to 14 days.

"The agent's commission was also reduced from 9 to 7 percent," he said.

The three associations all welcomed the move to introduce E tickets which would simplify the issuing of air tickets.

A representative of BAR said that this scheme is to be introduced to simplify financial payments.
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