Travel agencies and smaller airlines move to launch a single travel coordinating body, Tengrinews.kz reports, citing Nurlan Zhu-masultanov, Head of Bek Air airline.
According to him, the suggestion was voiced by Kazakhstan-based travel agencies and airlines at the Kazakh Tourism Association. Mr. Zhumasultanov elaborated that Kazakhstan had seen a toughening competition among burgeoning travel agencies. However, there are just a few airlines. “Oftentimes a travel agency turns to an airline to charter a flight, asking the airline not to enter into contracts with peer travel agencies. And the airline has to deny all the other travel agencies. As the departure time approaches, it turns out the travel agency fails to secure a sufficient payload. As the airline cannot fly at loss, it has to raise the fare”, he said.
According to Mr. Zhumasultanov, due to the fact that domestic travel agencies fail to cooperate the arising uncontrollable processes in the market result in attracting foreign smaller airlines such as Sky Airlines [whose bankruptcy hurt many Kazakh tourists in June]. “It turns out that in some cities there are too many clients and many aircraft, so the fares go down. In some country regions the situation is opposite. We are not content with what is going on. We, that is the country’s airlines, speak for stability. Hence the suggestion to launch a single travel coordinating body”.
“We need to know the number of prospect clients in each of the country’s regions. Knowing the figures, airlines could have talks and decide on who will perform what flights so that our carriage capacities could be used at least at 90% (…) Airlines will be selling flights to this single travel coordinating body; travel agencies will be purchasing air tickets from this coordinating body and complement them with guided tours, with the package service to be sold to tourists”, Mr. Zhumasultanov believes.
Otherwise, airlines might move to launch a single travel agency. “Moreover, each airline has its own representation office in major airports; sales of hotel rooms could be offered to complement the tickets. It would only benefit common people as air tickets would be sold without any intermediaries”, he said.
The Kazakh Tourism Association terms the suggestion as “absurd”. “It’s a wrong solution. We remove the much-desired competi-tion (…) The Association cannot enforce such suggestions as travel agencies and airlines are independent businesses and free to act as they consider right”, the Association Head Rashida Shaikenova said.
In June due to the bankruptcy of the Turkish Sky Airlines many Kazakhstan tourists failed to come back home from Turkey. Their flights back home was arranged out of the state budget. This factor along with the inability to hold the foreign airline liable have moved Kazakhstan towards ban on chartered flights performed by foreign aircraft operators.