The Business Travel Coalition (BTC) said it has formed a
coalition to promote travel distribution system choice for travel agencies and
their customers, in response to Lufthansa Group’s decision last month to add a
fee to every booking made through a GDS.
Called AirChannelChoice.travel, BTC called the coalition a
reaction to Lufthansa's policy to "surcharge and discriminate against the
travel agency channel” by adding a fee of 16 euros to every GDS booking
starting Sept. 1.
The coalition's mission, BTC said, is to "elevate the
public-policy discourse regarding airline industry distribution issues and to
promote travel distribution system choice for travel agencies and their
customers” by ensuring there is a "powerful, well-articulated and broadly
supported public-policy position regarding the issue of distribution channel discrimination”; encouraging regulators in the E.U. and U.S.
to pursue "timely analysis and action regarding potentially
anti-competitive and anti-consumer airline policies and practices in the
marketplace for travel distribution services"; and "educating
legislatures and regulators on the benefits of intra-channel competition in
travel distribution and emerging threats and opportunities with respect to
consumer choice and price transparency."
BTC said the coalition has 58 founding members from 10
countries with business or operations in 46 countries and territories. Members
include consumer groups, corporate and university travel departments, travel
agencies, travel management companies and travel industry associations.
To achieve its goals, BTC said that AirChannelChoice.travel
is "surveying its members, gathering industry views, publishing analyses,
drafting signatory letters and scheduling stakeholder meetings with regulators
in the E.U. and U.S."