Thursday, March 29, 2007

It's time to move on

We at Travolution are all in favour of comments to our blog postings and though we would love to reply to all of them, there are some comments in particular which absolutely deserve editorial feedback.

Amadeus's response to Tuesday's "Two down, two to go" blog post regarding the ongoing negotiations between British Airways and the GDSs is one such example.

In its comment, Amadeus, which, like Worldspan, has yet to finalise a distribution contract with BA, observed, "The idea that we would delay discussions on any agreement in favour of a minor short-term gain is wrong. In any case, until 10 April the situation, in terms of booking fees, is the same for all GDSs".

Amadeus is, of course, correct. I don't really think the GDSs are trying to take financial advantage of BA.

Rather, the point was that BA has taken more than its fair share of punches during what has become a rather protracted negotiation process, and those who might be quick to blame BA alone for the delay should consider that there are two sides to every story.

The airline has stood its ground despite mounting pressure from the travel trade and the prospect of paying higher GDS fees while it works out the terms of its new distribution contracts.

This tactic, while initially unnerving to BA's leisure and business travel partners, is likely to result in a greater return for the airline in the long term, which can only benefit its shareholders, travel agent and GDS partners and travellers.

So, for the record, my point was that it is time to put an end to the endless finger-pointing (amusing as it may have been for a while), and to focus on other important issues at hand.

Speaking of which, Heathrow's Terminal 5, whose successful opening and operation is a critical part of BA's long-term strategy, is scheduled to open in exactly 363 days.

April 10th may very well be an important date, as Amadeus pointed out, but, in the grander scheme of things, it's the landmark date of 27 March 2008 which will really make a difference to the future of BA, its agent partners and travellers.

Let the countdown begin.

Tricia Holly Davis, chief writer, Travolution

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