ARC Moves Towards Daily Reporting

Change could go into effect sometime in 2003

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, accurate transactions.

“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.