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BA's corporate customers seek assurances on cost-shifting, content fragmentation

03/01/2007| 5:36:00 PM| 中文

The Business Travel Coalition (BTC) has sent a Customer Signatory Letter to British Airways’ chief executive officer William M. Walsh. (2/27/2007)

The Business Travel Coalition (BTC) has sent a Customer Signatory Letter to British Airways’ chief executive officer William M. Walsh. (2/27/2007)

The unprecedented customer letter was signed by 117 major BA corporate customers from the UK, continental Europe, North America and Asia. Also sent was the Position Paper, peer-reviewed by some 150 European travel industry participants.

“As major British Airways’ customers, we are writing to express our profound concern about your airline’s reported intentions to undermine our existing corporate travel procurement process by imposing new surcharges and withholding content from the Global Distribution Systems…You are directly threatening the loss of your most valuable customers by imposing costs already included in the price of our tickets and hampering technology that is critical to the efficient functioning of our modern corporate travel programmes,” states the Signatory Letter.

It added: “British Airways, with its complex connecting network and global footprint, arguably derives more value from GDSs and travel management company distribution than any other airline in the world. Our companies demand a vast array of pre- and post-trip services your airline website simply cannot accommodate. In addition, the security and whereabouts of our traveling employees is of utmost importance, necessitating the very services that only a GDS can provide. Today, BA’s easy availability and strong participation in the GDSs gives your airline a decided advantage in securing a premium share of our business. It is therefore most surprising that you would risk this advantage by reportedly threatening to remove content and shift further cost burdens to us and other important distributors of your services.”

“British Airways offers a global product to demanding customers with complex needs. Travel management companies automated with GDSs offer a reasonably priced, indispensable method of efficiently bringing your services to market and enabling our corporate travel programmes to deliver value to our companies and our employees. Our companies will direct future business to airlines that build their distribution programmes around our preferences; as you are aware, we do have a choice in air travel. As you conclude your current GDS negotiations, we urge you to rededicate British Airways to achieving our mutual success.”

The Industry Position Paper highlights other critical issues,“Airline.com websites are absolutely not the answer for corporations. Exclusive content on such websites directly undermines the integrity of corporate travel programmes.”
TAGS: BA | British Airways | Business Travel Coalition | BTC
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