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Tue 15 Apr 2008 04:00 AM

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DTTAG forges ties with Euro airlines

The Dubai Travel and Tour Agents Group (DTTAG) have met with some of the leading European airlines to discuss how both parties can form a closer and mutually beneficial working relationship.

The Dubai Travel and Tour Agents Group (DTTAG) have met with some of the leading European airlines to discuss how both parties can form a closer and mutually beneficial working relationship.

"DTTAG had not met with the airlines for a couple of years - the last time we had a meeting it was about 0% commission and everyone was at each others' throats," DTTAG manager Leo Fewtrell explained candidly. "There has not been a meeting since and so we thought that now DTTAG was under a new administration it was time to re-build the relationship."

Airlines in attendance included BA, Austrian Airlines, SWISS, Lufthansa, Air France/KLM and just one regional airline, Gulf Air.

Representatives of other major global carriers such as Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, as well as Asian giants such as Sinagpore Airlines and Cathay Pacific, were noticeably absent.

However, Fewtrell said he hoped to pin down these absentees at a later date.

Topics discussed by DTTAG on behalf of its some 55 agent members included the abolition of SSIs and the possibility of an insurance company bonding agents instead of them having to fork out at least US $100,000 per year for an IATA bank guarantee.

Fewtrell and DTTAG president, Iain Andrew, the senior vice president of Dnata Agencies also challenged airlines over their direct-sell tactics - agents have accused some airlines of offering cheaper fares and better deals (with frequent flyer points) online.

The issue of Agency Debit Memos (ADMs) was also debated. An ADM is raised when an agent issues an incorrect fare and the airline charges that agent a penalty.

But Fewtrell noted that agents were reliant on the updated fares being inputted by the airlines into the GDS and that sometimes there was a lag between the new fare being issued and it being uploaded on the GDS.

In this instance, agents were being issued ADMs unfairly because they had issued fares in good faith.

"And sometimes, airlines send a fax or an email to the agent, when it should be inputted into the GDS immediately," he said.

"We therefore plan to speak to the GDS providers in order to rectify this situation because the airlines are saying it's not their fault."

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