Agents are booking more flights through Cosmos-owned seat-only operator Avro, despite commission dropping to almost zero last year.
Speaking at the Global Travel Group conference in Manchester, Cosmos managing director Stuart Jackson said Avro bookings through the trade were up between 50% and 60% on last year.
This is despite the decision in November 2009 to move from paying at least 7% to 0.01% commission.
Jackson said: “Avro operates in a commoditised marketplace with the likes of easyJet and Ryanair. We haven’t done anything that’s different from the rest of the market.
“Most agents are earning as much as before (by marking up the product). We are still supporting the trade with educationals and incentives.”
Jackson also responded to a concern raised by Cornwall-based Newell’s Travel partner Helen Hawke that Cosmos does not fly from her local airport, Exeter.
He said: “We have cut capacity. The regions tend to be a harder sell. When we looked at Glasgow airport, we found that we would be fourth or fifth in the pecking order.
“If I’m going to truly support the independent agents, they’ve got to support me too.”
Jackson predicted that 2011 would be even tougher for the industry than this year. “We will start seeing [public spending] cuts in September, once the new government has come through and after the summer break.”
The operator is seeing a sales uplift of between 10% and 15% for May after offering a number of deals, but June is still suffering and is between 5% and 10% down. “We [should] see a better September after the World Cup,” he added.