In a move long feared by travel agents, the Airlines Reporting
Corp. announced it will pursue a proposal that would require
ARC-accredited agency locations to participate in daily sales
reporting through ARC’s Web-based IAR Interactive Plus system.
ARC said its goal would be to implement the change sometime in
2003, following a period in which a “consultative dialog” with
agents would take place on the subject, ARC President and CEO David
Collins said in a Nov. 15 letter to agents.
In that letter, Collins said the “prolonged crisis in the
airline industry” led to ARC’s decision. The airlines, Collins
said, need daily reporting to more effectively monitor their sales,
as is done in most other industries. Under the current weekly
reporting requirement, up to two weeks can pass before carriers
receive sales data.
ASTA immediately denounced ARC’s plans.
“As it stands, the proposed changes, instigated by the airlines
through ARC, will dramatically impair travel agencies’ finances by
forcing them to redesign their back-office systems and procedures,
at a cost, in some cases of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said
ASTA President Richard Copland in a press release. “It’s another
case of the airlines attempting to dramatically undermine the
agency distribution channel.”
Collins also outlined plans to crack down on abuses of
ticket-voiding, which he said often take place on legitimate,
“Such practices not only increase travel costs to all, but also
are unfair to the vast majority of ARC-accredited agents that
comply with the rules,” Collins’ letter stated.