Etihad Airways no longer interested in ticket sales by US travel agents?

UAE-based Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan confirmed to eTN on May 9 at a press conference in Abu Dhabi: "Standard commission is paid to travel agents for ticket sales on Etihad."

Etihad Airways no longer interested in ticket sales by US travel agents?

UAE-based Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan confirmed to eTN on May 9 at a press conference in Abu Dhabi: “Standard commission is paid to travel agents for ticket sales on Etihad.”

Less than a month later this policy is no longer applying to travel agencies, tour operators or travel agents based in the United States of America.

With Etihad expanding non-stop service from Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles as of today. With Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates as the only airport in the Middle East having US immigration and customs pre-clearing facilities, and with Etihad launching a new enhanced first class product on their Airbus 380 including on the Abu Dhabi – Washington flight – cutting commission to nothing for ticket sales by US travel agent sales is surprising.

Even more surprising and a little scary is Etihad emailing an announcement to US travel agents on Saturday May 31 for implementing zero commission on June 1st. It waits to be seen how this cuts into plans already in the making for Etihad by US travel agents. Many US agents fed up with zero commission on American based carriers are supporting international airlines with commission still in place, or net rates offered by consolidators.

When contacted by eTN an Etihad Airways spokesperson said:

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“We review standard procedures from time to time to keep us aligned with the market. We continue to have very productive relations with our travel agency partners and these continue to grow as our business continues to grow. ”

The “productive relationship” was outlined in a less productive letter emailed to all US based travel agents on Saturday. The email reads:

Dear Trade Partner,

Effective June 1, 2014, the following change will be made to Etihad Airways standard commission policy in the USA:

For all tickets sold/issued in the USA and validated on Etihad Airways/607, on or after June 1, 2014, Etihad Airways will no longer pay standard commission.

These changes apply to all tickets, miscellaneous charge orders (MCO’s), prepaid ticket advises (PTA’s) and change fees sold and issued in the USA.

These changes apply to all ARC and IATA approved locations, including Satellite Ticket Printers (STP) in the 50 USA states, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands.

Please contact your local Etihad Airways office for any questions regarding this change.

All GDSs would be updated with immediate effect to reflect same.

Thank you for your support.

Etihad Airways USA team

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