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PIA's switching over to different accounting system causes unrest in travel trade

KARACHI (May 20 2004): The switch over by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to Quasar Accounting System (QAS) from May 1 has caused “concern and unrest” in the travel trade in the country.

The new system requires mandatory closing and submission of ATAC/C-20 (an accounting terminology) and audit coupons/supporting documents under Quasar CMA accounting system, on daily basis by the travel agents to the respective district offices of PIA.

In addition to this, a daily sales report as per PIA's previous pattern is also to be sent. In case of no sale, nil reports are to be sent.

According to a PIA directive, the agents will also continue to follow the previous pattern of submitting cheques/pay orders after availing of their credit period along with sales reports/refund reports/refunded documents.

Travel Agents Association of Pakistan (TAAP) Chairman M.Nadeem Sharif has sought a meeting with the PIA Chairman to present the Taap point of view.

“Sooner this issue is resolved, better it will be in the national interest, so that members of travel community may continue to serve PIA in the same harmonious and friendly atmosphere as it has always been,” he said.

The convenor, TAAP, Peshawar, Khalid Hassan Khan, and Regional Chairman, TAAP, Lahore, Ashfaq A.Mirza, have also written separate letters to the PIA authorities, expressing concern over the new accounting policy.

Daily submission of ATAC/C-20 and audit coupons was not possible, as it required not only extra labour, but also extra staff, which the travel agents could not afford, they said.

The national carrier did not take Taap into confidence while preparing the new accounting policy, they said, adding the PIA authorities must take care of the benefits/difficulties of travel agents in their sale/accounts policies.

The Taap said the new system entailed daily calculations and closing of account and submission of sales report to PIA every day.

Calculations of commission on daily basis by the ticketing staff would increase the workload and lead to errors since they were not trained as accountants, said the Taap.

The travel agents from smaller stations would face an acute problem where PIA office did not exist, the Taap said, and added this would add a tremendous financial burden on otherwise cash starved smaller businesses because it would add a daily travelling expense.

However, according to the PIA directive, all agents will follow the existing sales report settlement procedure for submission of sales report/cheques/pay order on weekly/fortnightly basis.

All IATA agents are already linked to PIA through the ATAC, enabling continuous monitoring by PIA. Therefore, the need for a switch over to a new system is not understandable, the Taap argued.

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