Interesting turn of events in the ongoing British Airways-GDS contracts renegotiation saga.
The Business Travel Coalition is assembling signatories for a letter to BA chief executive Willie Walsh to highlight what it says are plans that threaten to "impose new surcharges and withholding content from GDSs and the travel management companies corporations they serve".
In other words: if BA starts to get heavy-handed with the business travel community, by passing on costs to them once the GDS contracts are signed, then it can expect to feel a collective ill wind in the future.
Some of the biggest firms in the corporate world are lending their support to the letter, including PricewaterhouseCoopers and Airbus UK, as well as a number of high profile business travel agancies such as International Travel Management and MTS Travel.
The letter says:
"You are directly threatening the loss of your most valuable customers by imposing costs already included in the price of our tickets and hampering technology that is critical to the efficient functioning of our modern corporate travel programmes.It concludes with a very open threat:
"We urge you to move promptly to conclude your GDS negotiations with your best customers’ concerns top of mind."
"Our companies will direct future business to airlines that build their distribution programmes around our preferences; as you are aware, we do have a choice in air travel.The letter is due to be sent to Walsh some time after the 20th February, the cut off date for signatories.
"As you conclude your current GDS negotiations, we urge you to rededicate British Airways to achieving our mutual success."
41 companies have signed the letter so far...
[Read the full letter here]
No response from BA as yet...
Kevin May, editor, Travolution