Virgin Atlantic Airways announced today a new travel agent commission scheme after widespread consultation with the travel trade. Virgin Atlantic is retaining a commission-based structure, with rates for the sale of economy tickets remaining at 7% and the new rates for Premium Economy and Upper Class at 5% and 4% respectively, with effect from 1 April 2003.
The move comes following extensive consultation with trade bodies GBTA and ABTA. The new commission structure recognises the vital role of travel agents and reflects the importance Virgin Atlantic places on working with the trade to maximise returns for both parties.
Paul Wait, General Manager of Sales, commented:
"We've listened to the industry's views and have found a way to work together with agents to get the best deal possible for everyone.
"There have been many changes in the industry recently with many airlines reducing their commission rates and British Airways adopting a fee-based system. A number of airlines have not consulted with trade bodies - we've discussed our proposals extensively with the ABTA and GBTA and implemented changes that reflect their views. Virgin Atlantic's solution allows us to keep commissions whilst adopting a new system, which is not only competitive in the market place but will increase agents' profitability and our market share.
"In addition to these levels of commission, Virgin Atlantic will also incentivise agents further by using GDS software. We will be able to offer additional incentives targeted at specific agents segmented by route, by cabin and by date, which will provide an opportunity for agents to add to their base commission. We are aiming to roll this out during April 2003.
"Virgin has stuck by the trade in recent years and our philosophy continues to be to recognise the contribution the travel trade make to our commercial success and to reward them accordingly."
This new structure applies to the UK only, existing arrangements remain for the rest of the world.