12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Business Travel Show Europe, presented by The BTN
21 November, London Hilton Metropole
A LEADING TRAVEL management boss has called on airlines to put "sanity before economics" in the air fare distribution row. In his address to senior corporate travel figures at the Guild of Travel Management Companies' (GTMC) annual general meeting, chairman Michael Hare said any strategy that drove bookings away from the global distribution systems (GDSs) was short term, irrational and potentially damaging.
Most travel management companies (TMCs) have a GDS at the core of their business, as they believe it offers clients the most efficient access to global air fares, and allows them to offer services such as detailed management information and traveller tracking.
American Airlines (AA) is locked in a dispute with the GDSs because it is trying to drive customers to its own Direct Connect product.
The GTMC status as a not-for-profit organisation prevents it from getting involved in commercial disputes, and therefore it would not call for an official boycott of AA. But chief executive Anne Godfrey said members had already been warned about the potential impact of direct connect products.
Hare said: "These [direct connect] systems, quite frankly, don't deliver what the majority of corporate customers or the industry wants and needs. Think carefully before you put economics before sanity."
Kevin Thom, the vice president of the Scottish Passenger Agents' Association and convenor of its air committee, said: "The GDS is fundamentally the most efficient distribution system available. It provides a proven and neutral mechanism for the display and booking of air travel. AA is attempting to force an unwanted and unnecessary solution on customers, regardless of their booking channel preference."