Striking a blow for integrity

"Hello, I'm the ARC auditor and I'm here to protect the integrity of our systems."

If travel agents are ever greeted thus by real or virtual visitors from ARC, we hope they offer their full cooperation and every courtesy.

We believe every ARC agent has a vital stake in the integrity of a system that manages an $80 billion annual revenue stream.

And we also believe that the audits of agency ownership that ARC is undertaking would be justified solely on the grounds of ensuring that ARC's records about agency ownership reflect reality.

But while we accept at face value ARC's assertion that this is about integrity, we suspect that many agents are equally convinced that it's also about money.

Some airlines are understandably annoyed when two or more ARC agencies combine their sales volume to qualify for incentives if they're not actually under common ownership as laid out in ARC's rules.

If these audits pull asunder what some agents have creatively joined together, then he integrity of ARC's processes may well be improved, but so too will some airline cash flows.

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