BA withdraws “Biggest Lowest Offer“(1)

31 October 2001

NEW DELHI - British Airways (BA) has withdrawn its "Biggest, Lowest Offer" after one week in the Indian market.

Introduced a week ago, the offer put forward fares as low as India-London return fares at US$375.

"The cheques will now be returned and not a single voucher will be issued," a source said.

The scheme was tailored to improve liquidity for British Airways and pull in passengers with attractive pricing.

Disgruntled airlines had lobbied with various authorities including the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation and IATA to exert pressure on BA to call off the offer. TAAI (Travel Agent Association of India) and TAFI (Travel Agent Federation of India), joined the protest.

According to sources, international airlines including Air-India had threatened to pull out of IATA’s Billing and Settlement Plan if BA did not withdraw the offer. The scheme was unique because it bypassed IATA’s BSP, which settles accounts between travel agents and airlines.

TAAI vice president Balbir Mayal told Travelweekly East the travel trade would be willing to support BA if it had introduced an advance purchase fare as practiced in Europe and had not bypassed BSP.

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