NBTA said it is also concerned that recent actions by Delta Airlines to pull their inventory from three smaller online travel agencies is a prelude to other airlines taking steps that will ultimately harm the business travel industry.
"American Airlines' decision will lead to higher prices and confusion for corporations, business travelers and consumers alike. Travelers wanting to fly American will now need to bounce back and forth across multiple Websites to book a trip. American's decision does nothing to help business travelers or their employers - it adds an unnecessary obstacle to smooth business travel booking and will lead to higher costs in the end," said Mike McCormick, executive director and COO of NBTA. "NBTA believes it is critical to maintain a fair, transparent and competitive buying environment for business travel, and American's decision is in direct opposition to this goal."
Global distribution systems, widely utilized by airlines worldwide, enable business travel procurement and promote transparency, access and competition. They provide business travel purchasers with the information required to make informed spending decisions.
NBTA's position is that airline mandated "direct connects" that bypass the existing distribution systems will result in a significant increase in capital expenditure that business travel buyers will ultimately bear. In addition, businesses that rely on information to negotiate for and maintain airline discount programs will be challenged in their ability to track volume and enforce travel policies.
"Air travel in general and business travel in particular is a major driving force for the economy, and we are increasingly concerned about this decision as part of a pattern of recent activity that will come at the expense of the business travel buyer. We will be releasing a comprehensive position on behalf of our members related to these concerns in the new year," McCormick said.