Aer Lingus today confirmed its decision to reduce commission paid to Irish travel agents with effect from February 1st.
Commenting on the decision, the airline`s Head of Sales and Marketing, Seamus Kearney said the decision was part of a stringent attack on costs in the airline and would mean more low fares for Irish consumers.
“With the industry changing radically, all companies have to adapt to survive. As part of our Survival Plan, Aer Lingus is reducing its costs by close to €200 million annually and this is resulting in savings of up to 50% on last year`s fares for Irish customers”, he said.
The cut in commissions is one element of the airline`s overall cost reduction strategy which sees a reduction in staff numbers of 2000, together with significant savings in overhead expenses and distribution costs. In addition to cutting commissions, the airline`s distribution costs will be reduced by the closure of all Aer Lingus Travel Shops, a streamlining of its call centre operations and increased use of the Aer Lingus website for bookings.
“This strategy is enabling us to provide over 2.5 million low fare seats for customers in 2002”, Mr Kearney added.
“As the airline industry undergoes fundamental change, all businesses have had to adapt and change to become more competitive and Aer Lingus in implementing its Survival Plan is taking the necessary decisions to ensure a viable company into the future,” he said.
He pointed out that as all airlines have implemented commission reductions in the past two years, most Irish travel agents have successfully implemented service fees to provide an alternative income stream.