The cancellation of the 5% commission given to travel agents for SriLankan air tickets, which was to come to effect from April 1, had been postponed to July 1.

Speaking to the Nation, International Air Travel Association (IATA) Agents Association of Sri Lanka President Tilak Wickremasinghe said that agents were currently in talks with the national carrier and are hopeful that the outcome would be a fair one by the industry.

“It is still too early to comment but we’re hoping for a solution that will be fair by all ticketing agents – big and small alike,” he said.

Meanwhile, an industry insider who wished not to be quoted said that SriLankan Airlines had proposed to offer ticketing agents incentives based on their performance in place of a commission.
He said: “What they are proposing is to provide us with good rates, incentives based on performance instead of a commission. If this is the case, the bigger companies will not have a problem but the smaller ones might not be able to compete or survive unless a ‘service fee’ is charged on top of the price of the ticket.”
According to this travel agent who didn’t wish to be quoted, the commission cut is likely to throw the smaller players out of the picture as they might not be able to compete against the bigger ticketing agents who will get better rates based on their performance and as a result, will be able to give their customers better rates than the small-timers.

Initially SriLankan Airlines announced that the commission given to agents which is 5% at present will be cancelled as the company was looking at adopting a zero commission policy from April 1, 2017. This announcement rocked the industry with many ticketing agents claiming that it will put about 4500 agents out of business.  Talks are currently in progress between IATA, SriLankan Airlines and other relevant stakeholders