Opposition to Air Canada distribution policy

11th May 2006

The Business Travel Coalition have transmitted a Signatory Letter to Air Canada CEO Montie
Brewer regarding his airline’s policy to remove low-fare Tango inventory
from the four GDSs.The letter was signed by forty-six corporations and
universities who are important AC customers. These Signatories are very
concerned that AC’s action will 1) lead to increased prices paid for air
travel, 2) generate new administrative and process costs due to content
fragmentation and complexity and 3) encourage other airlines to implement
similar disruptive policies. (See Signatory Letter at Air Canada Watch:
  BTC chairman Kevin Mitchell stated, “This issue has touched an
extremely sensitive nerve in the business travel community and all
throughout the travel industry. Air Canada’s message to its best customers
that they no longer merit access to Tango fares through GDSs has caused a
huge and sustained outcry. Contrary to Air Canada’s spin, there are no
technological limitations involved in loading these fares into GDSs; the
only technological problems have come from Air Canada deliberately throwing
sand in the gears of managed travel programs through this unfortunate and
unwise move.”
  The Coalition believes that the growing opposition to AC’s policy is
becoming so strong and diverse that the airline will realize the harm its
policy is causing and reverse course. In addition to individual corporate
travel managers and travel agency executives writing directly to AC, the
Association of Canadian Travel Agencies, the Canadian Corporate Travel
Association, the American Society of Travel Agents, and the Business Travel
Coalition have all been active in advocating AC’s reversal of its new
distribution policy. What’s more, Canadian travel buyers and distributors
during an Association of Corporate Travel Executives’ (ACTE) conference in
Atlanta this week expressed strong concerns about AC’s policy. (ACTE is a
prominent global business travel professionals Association.)
  According to a May 8th ACTE Press Release, “Attendees overwhelmingly
stated that the impact of Air Canada’s recent action to remove some of the
inventory from the GDSs would complicate or hinder their travel program.”
During an automated polling of the Canadian ACTE members, 83% of the buyers
indicated that the AC policy would hinder their managed travel program;
likewise, 83% of buyers agreed that lack of consolidated data would be a
consequence. Very importantly, 67% of buyers indicated having travelers
booking out of their corporate systems would represent a security risk with
respect to their whereabouts during a crisis. Vast majorities also agreed
travel costs would increase due to higher prices-paid and increased process
  BTC calls on AC to put its very best customers’ interests first and
reverse its misguided distribution strategy.


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