American Airlines vil skære agenterne bort

American Airlines har planer om at give corporate-kunderne direkte adgang til selskabets reservationssystem og opsætte en såkaldt “betalingsvæg“, der forhindrer GDS-selskaber og rejsebureauer i at få adgang til indholdet på

Udviklingen har været til at forudsige længe. Men nu ventes American Airlines at tage skridtet fuldt ud. Det amerikanske flyselskab vil give corporate-kunderne adgang til selskabets reservationssystem gennem værktøjet AA Direct Connect og samtidig opsætte spærringer for GDS-selskaber og rejsebureauer, således at disse ikke kan få adgang til at selskabets flydata uden at betale et gebyr for det.

Dermed kan American Airlines være med til at vende hele distributionen på hovedet. Hidtil har luftfartsselskaberne betalt for at få deres flydata distribueret gennem de store GDS-selskaber. Men nu vil American Airlines have GDS-selskaberne til at betale for at få lov til at distribuere indholdet.

De to store amerikanske brancheorganisationer Business Travel Coalition (BTC) og American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) ervoldsomt oprørte over det amerikanske flyselskabs planer.

Der er forståelse for, at flyselskaberne forsøger at skabe flere indtægter og samtidig sænke omkostningerne. Menudfra en overordnet industriel betragtning, vil det skabe større arbejde og kompleksitet ved bestillng af rejser, mener BTC. Kevin Mitchell, der er formand for BTC giver udtryk for, at det nye tiltag fra American Airlines vil underminere de effektive rutiner, som mange virksomheder gør brug af ved rejsebestilingen.

BTC har i sidste uge indsamlet over 100 underskrifter fra større rejsebureauer og corporate-kunder, der ønsker atprotestere mod American Airlines´ planer.



Brev fra Business Travel Coalition:

“April 5, 2010

Dear Industry Colleagues,

In late 2009 travel agents and corporate travel managers began informing the American Society of Travel Agents and Business Travel Coalition that American Airlines was exploring with them in meetings a “direct-connect” strategy that would flip the distribution system economic model from one where the airline funds its unbundling, merchandising and selling activities to a “user-pays” model.

In addition to layering on significant new complexities and costs to corporate managed travel programmes, a “user-pays” model would result in high-value unbundled and repackaged content being available – for no channel fee – only through American’s direct-connect pipeline and for the airline to otherwise charge for the merchandising and sale of its content through alternative channels. In other words, virtually all merchandising and distribution costs would be shifted to TMCs, and ultimately onto the backs of the airline’s best customers. Managed travel efficiencies would be substantially degraded.

Of course, in recent years numerous airlines have attempted to shift costs and other distribution burdens to the customer, but a unified supply chain has repeatedly and successfully pushed back by reminding airlines that it is agencies’ corporate customers who keeps the lights on at airlines’ headquarters and that their managed travel needs must be respected. Unfortunately, we are faced with another one of these challenges to the investments of significant time and money in technologies that enable TMCs and corporate travel departments to shop for, purchase and report on airline products and services efficiently.

I invite you to consider joining dozens of TMCs and corporate travel managers in sending a signatory letter to all major U.S. airline CEOs encouraging them to work cooperatively and in good faith with GDSs, TMCs and corporate travel managers on the rapid development of industry standards that safeguard all participants’ interests. If after reviewing the letter below you can support this initiative please authorise us to list you and your organization as a signatory to this most important letter. I would appreciate if you could do this by the close of business on Friday, April 9. Together, we can create a more hopeful future for travel procurement.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or ideas.

Kind regards,
Kevin Mitchell
Chairman, Business Travel Coalition“