is to change remuneration arrangements for travel agents, so that they are consistent with their changing role in the market. From May 1 2005, the airline will reduce the commission payable to UK travel agents on British Airways’ bookings from one percent to zero. Agents will be free to charge their own scale of service fees in addition to the ticket price. Ian Heywood, British Airways’ Head of Consumer and Agency Sales said: “The changes announced today recognise that the role of the travel agent has changed during the past few years. ÊServices offered by agents will continue to be driven by customer needs with agents charging for the services, which their customers require.
“We need to continue to transform our business to remain competitive and to reflect the changing needs of the market and our customers. Ê
“This is part of a global trend. Ê In many parts of the world, carriers no longer pay commission to travel agents.”
British Airways is committed to offering customers a choice of ways to book Ê- through travel agents or directly with the airline. ÊFor those who choose to book directly with British Airways, the lowest advertised price will be available on ba.com. Ê This is the same fare available to agents via their global distribution systems (GDSs).
Mr Heywood continued: “The arrangements will provide agents with flexibility to determine the price they charge to their customers for their ticket sales, giving them more control over their income and enabling them to manage their own business more effectively.
“We believe in a level playing field between our direct channels and the trade. ÊAs such we will introduce a service fee on sales of long haul tickets made through any British Airways Travel Shop, call centre or ticket desk from May 1, 2005.
Service fees on short haul bookings made via the telephone, at any British Airways Travel Shop or ticket desk have been in place since June 2002.