Agent Issues Air Canada says paying agents is producing results By Dennis Schaal / August 11, 2009 Share 1 -- Air Canada withdrew in great measure from the agency channel several years ago, but has taken steps during dire economic times to turn the page a bit.On June 4, Air Canada introduced commissions for Canadian agents booking Tango flights within Canada, and the airline said the result was incremental gains in less than a month."I believe we definitely saw incremental traffic because of this move, "Air Canada Chief Commercial Officer Benjamin Smith told financial analysts Aug. 7. "Most of the smaller agencies were not booking with us. They haven’t been with us for a number of years, so this was a way to reengage with that part of the channel."Asked whether the initial results from offering the commission were revenue accretive, Smith replied: "Correct."The initial commission rate on Tango fares for was 4%, but Air Canada raised it to 7% on June 9.To qualify, Canadian agents must book the Tango fares at the airline’s agency portal at www.aircanada.com/agents or use the following desktop tools: Agencia by Travelport, ConvergentPro by Convergentware and VTOLite+ and Hawkeye by Farelogix.As part of its reengagement with the agency channel, Air Canada said it also entered into agreements with Expedia and two retail chains that the airline did not identify.With its business in the doldrums, Air Canada turned to travel agents as one vehicle for enticing a rebound. Air Canada reported an operating loss of $113 million in the second quarter."Moreover, with a sharp downtown in business traffic, we must find creative approaches to generate revenues," said Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu. "We have actively and purposely reengaged with the travel trade."