Turkeys Voting for Christmas

Default, Featured, IAAI — By on September 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Biji Eapen, National President

Agents’ Representives in APJC-In vying with each other to be the Airlines’ Yes Men

Reports received on the recently concluded Agency Programme Joint Council-India (APJC-In) meeting revealed that the Agent representations are in the fore front for the implementation of Weekly Payment in India.

Agent Representatives in the 35th APJC-In meeting held on 20th July 2012 managed to pull the weekly payment system to 1st June 2014 and thanks to god, ordinary agents in India got a breathing time to adjust with the situation. Further, it proposed a symmetrically phased process of continuing the present fort-nightly payment till 30th June 2013 and a ten days payment system till 30th June 2014, Weekly Billing ( 7 days ) with remittance period of 15 days till 30th June 2015 and thereafter Weekly Billing & Remittance with 7 days period.

And this decision taken in the 35th APJC meeting was not unanimous as one Airline member had opposed the move and the crucial decision was taken by majority vote. It was further decided to forward the proposal to PA Conf/35 which will be held in Oct 2012 at Abu Dhabi, for their approval and implementation.

IATA Resolutions are tangible and very specific. TAAI and TAFI unilaterally decided to implement the so called “ weekly payment “ in a phased manner from 2012 till 2015, whereas the relevant clause under Res 800x explicitly confines that the decisions to change payment systems are based on the financial and economic situation of a country, if so warranted. Further, it can be subsequently varied if such situation arises.

Neither an eminent economist nor a financial analyst can predict, what shall be the economic scenario in India in 2013, 2014 or 2015. If that be the case, how these two Associations can project the economic conditions up to or beyond 2015 and propose Payment Cycle thereon??

The Agenda item dated 15th August 2012 submitted by APJC – India Secretary to the upcoming PA Conference ( PA Conf / 35 ) in October 2012 shows the details of the decision taken by APJC – India in their meeting on 20th July 2012 ( 35th APJC – India meeting ) held in New Delhi. The recommendation from APJC – India is for a gradual phasing in of Weekly Remittance. It is proposed to have a shorter billing cycle with weekly billing and remittance effective from 1st July 2015.

This above proposal was moved by APJC- India, even as four IAAI member agents from Chennai had approached Hon High Court of Madras against the weekly payment implementation and favoured with a direction in June 2012 to proceed with IATA Arbitration. Their petitions were already accepted by the Travel Agency Commissioner – (TAC-3) and are awaiting the arbitration proceedings. IATA had postponed the Weekly Payment from July to 1st November to avoid legal implications.

The Agency Administrator Mr. Aleks Popovich postponed the implementation of Weekly Payment System to November 2012 observing that the insistence on immediate compliance could possibly result in significant defaults, unnecessary expensive legal actions in the Indian courts, and possible intervention by Government Regulators . Since the four Indian Travel Agents were awaiting the arbitration process as directed by the Indian judiciary, it would have been appreciated if the Agents Representatives on APJC – India had tried to shelf the Weekly Payment  System, till the Travel Agency Commissioner’s award. But far from this, the APJC Representatives chose to support the Airlines’ demand.

When the two Associations ( TAAI & TAFI ) confirmed to Chairman APJC and to IATA, that they were participating in the meetings ( 11th May & 20th July) without prejudice to their rights and to the outcome of the petition before the Hon. High Court of Karnataka, it is strange that they simply ignored the fervent appeal of the 4 Agents who have invoked the authority of IATA & TAC -3.

If the Associations are genuinely concerned about the welfare of the travel agents fraternity, the Agents Representative in APJC should have objected Airlines’ move to implement weekly payment . Instead, they acted as the Yes-Men of the Airlines.

Another shocking news ….

It is strange to note that APJC – India met again on 3rd September 2012 in Mumbai only to damage the whole situation and confused the entire travel agents community by altogether reversing their own recommendation based on 20th July meeting. This twisted decision is going to be a revised proposal to the PA Conf / 35 taking the travel agents for a ride. The current system of Fortnightly Settlement continues upto 30th June 2013 followed by seven day settlement cycle with two weeks credit period and from 1st January 2014 weekly settlement cycle with seven day period.

When the proposal from APJC – India based on its 35th meeting having been forwarded to PA Conference and the Item listed in the Agenda on 15th August 2012 for the proposed PA Conf / 35 scheduled to be held during October 2012,

what prompted and what was the urgency for the APJC – India to make out an alternative decision within a period of 18 days?

The APJC members seem to have not applied their mind and taking hasty decisions totally detrimental to the entire travel industry in our country. The Airlines have taken a strong stand for the early introduction of Weekly Billing & Settlement plan in India. And the Agents Representatives and two National Associations of Travel Agents together agree and blindly support whatever move being made by the Airline Members in APJC – India. It seems that the Agents Representatives in APJC – India have totally forgotten their assigned role to ‘represent and to take care of the interest of the Travel Agents in India ‘.

The Airlines are now convinced that the Agent Members in APJC – India can be easily bought and managed. The Airlines are also totally convinced that the existing Agent Members shall not raise any objections, whatsoever towards any decision the Airlines proposed to move in the APJC – India meetings.

The APJC – India is taking a unanimous stand to block the entry of the third National Association of Travel Agents viz., IAAI. The reasons for such resistance have now become self-explanatory. Now look at the reality and notice the colour of the black horses in APJC – India.

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