ARTA and ARTA Canada Reach Out to American Airlines
Both Associations Hope to Open Constructive Dialogue
with AA on Recent Distribution Issues
Scottsdale, Arizona and Toronto, Ontario - 10 November 2010: The Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA) and the Association of Retail Travel Agents - Canada (ARTA Canada) announced today that they have jointly written to American Airlines' officials to open dialogue regarding the current disagreement between AA and an online travel agency and GDS provider.
Both agency associations are concerned that travel agents may be finding themselves in the middle of an even wider dispute which may not only have severe repercussions for the agency community, but may prompt other carriers to review their distribution mechanisms as well. Both ARTA and ARTA Canada have been strong proponents of reducing airline distribution costs so as to encourage more investment by carriers in remuneration programs and stronger relationships with the travel agency sales channel. However, such a cost reduction must be coupled with a viable set of tools which reflect the way agencies do business and support the infrastructure which agents have built over many years.
"We know there is ever-increasing technology out there that merits a look-see to determine if there's a good fit for both agent and supplier. We just want airlines and other suppliers to recognize that we need to work together to assure that all direct stakeholders can benefit as we make any transition to enhanced or new platforms", said Sally Watkins, CTC, Vice Chairman of ARTA.
ARTA and ARTA Canada expressed concerns that the current volley of lawsuits and tough words in the press would hopefully not be a prelude to return to "preferred distribution channels", $3.50 per segment penalties for using unapproved booking tools, and a passing on of other booking and distribution fees to agencies.
"From new XML options leveraging superior process workflows to the growing importance of deploying and capturing ancillary products and services, we recognize that airlines want to enhance their selling and distribution platforms to embrace these important aspects of cost reduction and new revenue. Agents have a role to play in giving airlines and other travel suppliers a clearer view of what works and what doesn't work when we sell their services. We support AA's right to lower costs. We just want to be sure that it doesn't raise ours in the process", said ARTA Canada President Bruce Bishins, CTC.
ARTA and ARTA Canada hope that AA will agree to meet with officials from both agency associations.
ARTA has always been at the forefront of those industry changes which have strengthened the agency community. Founded in 1963, and for the past 47 years, the Association of Retail Travel Agents is the largest non-profit association in North America that represents travel agents exclusively.
ARTA is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. ARTA is the strategic partner of Canadian-based ARTA Canada. For more information about ARTA, please contact Ms. Pat Funk, ARTA's Executive Director, at 1-866-369-8969 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About ARTA Canada
ARTA Canada is the largest non-profit federally incorporated professional association of travel retailers in Canada, the members of which consist exclusively of travel agencies and travel agents. In addition to advocating fair and equitable treatment of travel consumers, ARTA Canada represents the commercial and strategic interests of its member travel agencies and travel agents in a variety of national and provincial domains including regulatory and legislative matters, automation, technology, sales and marketing, and distribution.
ARTA Canada is based in Toronto and is the strategic partner in Canada of the U.S.-based Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA). ARTA Canada is the Canadian member of UFTAA, the United Federation of Travel Agents' Associations. Complete details about ARTA Canada's new $99 membership campaign for 2011 and an online ARTA Canada membership application and secure payment are available on its web site at www.artacanada.ca/join.