Syndicate manipulate air tickets

Published at : 29 June 2024, 03:00 pm
Syndicate manipulate air tickets

The idea that prices will rise in response to increased demand is not new. But when it rises three or four times, everyone's attention is automatically drawn to it. Passengers feel helpless even if they understand this at the time of the air ticket. A big example of this is the workers who went to Malaysia last May. Many people did not get the flight even after buying a ticket for TK. 30,000 for lakhs of takas. Not only are the foreign airlines increasing the ticket prices for international routes from Bangladesh, but the ticket prices for domestic routes are also increasing ahead of Eid. The ticket price for the domestic route is TK 3 to 4 and a half thousand; during Eid, it increases to TK 9 to 11 thousand.

Circles related to the aviation sector say that the price of air tickets is becoming unbridled as demand increases due to the huge dollar retention of foreign airlines and syndicates.

Abdus Salam Aref, president of the country's travel agents' organization, the Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB), told the Khaborer Kagoj that it is normal that when the demand increases, the price will increase. Because when there is a recession, no one takes on the burden. As a result, when demand increases, the price of air tickets increases so much. This happens due to the syndication of the airlines. They give the tickets to 5–6 travel agencies. As a result, those agencies increase the price. This is why customers are forced to buy tickets at higher prices when needed.

"The number of seats is low on most routes, despite the demand for air tickets. As a result, when the demand increases a little, i.e., if there are 100 seats and the demand is 120, then the airlines increase the ticket price. Even if only the airlines increased the prices, the pressure on the customers would not be that much, but when the airlines raise the prices a little, then some big travel agencies buy these tickets and stock them. Later, they sell them at a much higher price. As a result, the customer has to pay three to four times more to buy the ticket. Apart from this, as the dollar price is increasing in the country, the ticket price may increase in the future," Kazi Wahedul Alam, a former member of the Biman Board of Directors and an aviation expert, told the Khaborer Kagoj.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), an international alliance of global airlines, said in a notification last April that foreign airlines owed about 323 million US dollars in Bangladesh. About 323 million US dollars are owed to foreign airlines. The company has also been ordered to pay this amount immediately. The company has also been ordered to pay this amount immediately. Philip Goh, vice president of the organization's Pacific region, was quoted as saying, 'It is important for countries to be strategic in the use of foreign exchange in the current situation. It is also a tough challenge for the government. However, timely and efficient payment of debts should be prioritized. It is essential to prevent a decline in air connectivity, achieve economic growth, and maintain foreign investment and export potential.

However, the incident of money from foreign airlines being withheld in Bangladesh has happened before. In June last year, IATA once again urged for the recovery of dues. At that time, it was said in the notification of the organization that about 214.1 million dollars worth of foreign airlines were trapped in Bangladesh.

Ticket prices from Bangladesh may go up further in the coming days as foreign airlines hold on to huge dollar holdings and set prices based on the future profits of these dollars, fear aviation industry insiders. They say several airlines have already reduced their number of flights. As a result, Bangladeshi passengers may face various complications in future foreign travel.

"Due to the dollar crisis, the airlines are not able to take dollars in their own country. But some influential airlines are slowly repatriating their stranded dollars. But many others are suffering with their trapped capital. As a result, foreign airlines are reducing their number of flights in this country. Airlines have come to do business in this country. They sold tickets, collected money, but could not take it home. Does anyone run a business like this? The effect of this is that various airlines are reducing their flights. This will increase the price of tickets," ATAB president Abdus Salam Aref told the Khaborer Kagoj.

While acknowledging that tickets are expensive in Bangladesh, he went on to say that many consumers bemoan the fact that they can get the same tickets from other countries or India for less money. "The money is stranded here, which is the fundamental cause of this. The price of money goes up. By increasing ticket rates, foreign airlines are modifying their cost of funding. The nation is suffering from this. However, the inexpensive tickets that are still available in Bangladesh are being closed. It is being provided by several foreign agencies, particularly Indian agencies. Money from Bangladesh is being sent outside illegally, through  hundi," Abdus Salam Aref told the Khaborer Kagoj.

"Month after month, foreign airlines that operate here are unable to get refunds. They'll make an effort to cover up their losses. Because of this, the cost of tickets is higher here than it is in its neighbors. There aren't any less expensive tickets available here. They're sold overseas. The airlines can easily transfer money to their own nation for this," stated Kazi Wahedul Alam.

Aviation experts predict that foreign airlines will become disinterested in launching additional flights from Bangladesh if this situation continues.

"Bangladesh will be perceived negatively by the outside world as a result of these dollar transactions. There will be an image crisis. This dollar transaction will deter foreign airlines from operating in Bangladesh in the future," said aviation expert Kazi Wahedul Alam.

Currently, foreign airlines control eighty percent of the country's aviation business. Consequently, a rise in foreign airline ticket costs has an impact on the market as a whole. This may increase the cost of air travel in the coming days.