June 27 - Signatory Letter To EU Authorities Re IAG Surcharge


David Currie

Chairman

UK Competition and Markets Authority

Victoria House, 37 Southampton Row, 

London WC1B 4AD, UK


Dame Deirdre Hutton

Chairman

UK Civil Aviation Authority

45-59 Kingsway

London WC2B 6TE 


Margrethe Vestager 

European Commissioner for Competition

European Commission

Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 200

1049 Brussels


José María Marín Quemada

President

National Authority for Markets and Competition

C/ Alcalá 47 

28014 Madrid - Spain


Dear Chairman Currie, Chairman Hutton, Commissioner Vestager and President Marín Quemada,

We the undersigned organizations from thirteen countries write in full support of the Business Travel Coalition’s letter to you of 31 May 2017 regarding the International Airlines Group’s (IAG) recently announced surcharge of £16 per a typical return ticket not purchased from its various websites, service centers or airport ticket counters, effective 1 November 2017.

We reach out to you from many countries. As participants in the managed-travel segment of the industry it matters not where we are located in the world. We may or may not have clients or employees who travel on IAG’s British Airways or Iberia within Europe, or across the globe. What is at stake is the long-term impact of this surcharge development on the competitive structure of the global travel industry.

The issue of strategic concern is if a few global airline groups leverage a REGAINED control over airline distribution then we would no doubt be right back to the hard-to-detect but widespread and deeply harmful competitive abuses present when major airlines owned and controlled the global distribution systems. 

Costs, transparency and new airline entry would all be negatively impacted vis-à-vis consumers. If airlines today controlled distribution, i.e., the competitive choices and prices consumers see, then one can only fathom how, for example, EU and US airline alliance partners would be (1) blocking Gulf carriers’ market entry, (2) stymying Norwegian Air Shuttle’s pro-consumer growth or (3) frustrating countless other new airlines’ entry plans. 

The Tragedy Of The Travel Commons

The travel industry and its regulators have worked for decades to greatly increase transparency for consumers with respect to airline product availability and pricing, i.e. complete and accurate information. That transparency is the precious “shared resource” of a global “commons” that fuels the growth of the travel and tourism industry. Its depletion would render this resource useless in powering industry growth and consumer welfare.

The travel industry is highly interdependent and exceedingly sensitive to the widespread impact one group of market participants can have, acting for short-term gain without regard to the legitimate interests of other stakeholders, and according only to their self-interest - in this instance by reducing air travel product and pricing transparency. 

IAG’s proposed surcharge may seem rational at the firm level; however, when adopted by all the major airline groups at the industry level, in a follow-the-leader style - it is utterly harmful to the entire travel community. A massive reduction in transparency would deplete the very resource that drives growth in global travel and tourism. This is not in the long-term interest of IAG, other airlines, TMCs, travel buyers, airports, hotels, consumers or any of the many other participants in the travel ecosystem.

We trust that upon investigation that you will share our concerns and urge IAG to defer its surcharge implementation until such time as you are assured that IAG’s plans are in accordance with all relevant competition and transport sector laws, statutes and principles. 

As the Business Travel Coalition offered in its recent letter to you, if it would be useful to you, a representative group of industry participants, including from the Air Channel Choice coalition, would be pleased to meet with your staffs to share why we are deeply concerned about this far-reaching industry development.


Sincerely,

Hickory Global Partners

Travel & Transport

The Travel Team

ATPI (UK)

ITP-International Travel Partnership (UK)

Anthony Veder Travel B.V. (Netherlands)

Petroleum Geo-Services (Norway)

Travel Harbour (UK)

UNIGLOBE Travel (Holland)

World Travel, Inc.

Colwick Travel

DHL

Business Travel Coalition

Dubai Travel & Tour Agents Group (UAE)

eGlobalfares

Endress+Hauser Management AG (Switzerland)

Anglo California Travel Service Inc.

Ace Travel Management (UK)

Irish Travel Agents Association (Ireland)

AVIA Marketing Consultants, Inc. (Canada)

e-Business Travel B.V. (Netherlands)

VISA Tours & Travel (P) Ltd. (India)

San Francisco International Airport

Global Travel (Norway)

Ian Dickson Travel (Scotland)

Mangaard Travel Group A/S (Denmark)

UCB (Belgium)

International Travel Partnership (UK)

Hidden Treasure Tours 

Matrix Travel Management (UK)

Maritime Travel Service B.V. (Netherlands)

Cresta World Travel (UK) 

CH2M

UNIGLOBE Travel Partners

Cannon Design

Wells Fargo & Company

Corniche Group

Teplis Travel

LXR Travel LLC

Hess Travel

Options Travel

Hidden Treasure Tours 

S.R. Travel Service 

Berger Travel Agency, Inc.

Geraci Travel

GlobalPoint Travel Solutions

Travel One, Inc.

MH-Global Communications Network

Chambers Travel

Kilauea Travel Group, Inc.

Sun Travel

Agencias Soler

Travel Leaders Indianapolis

Britt's Auto Sales

Contract TravelMakino

Travel Landing USA 

J.V.Travels Pvt Ltd (India)

Travel Computer Sys

Tems, Inc.

Changing Planes 


AIR CHANNEL CHOICE COALITION FOUNDING MEMBERS


Air Passengers Association of India (India) 

Business Travel Coalition 

Travelers United 

asr e.V. (alliance of independent travel companies) (Germany) 

IATA Agents Association of India (India)

Dubai Travel & Tour Agents Group (United Arab Emirates)

African Development Bank (Côte d’Ivoire)

UNIGLOBE Travel International (Canada) 

Hickory Global Partners, LCC (U.S.)

Alive Travel (Portugal) 

Hotelplan Suisse MTCH AG (Switzerland) 

Tier One Travel, Inc. (Canada)

BookIt.com 

World Travel, Inc. 

Travel and Transport, Inc.

The Travel Team, Inc.

Roberta's Travel Solutions (Trinidad and Tobago) 

Atlantis Air Service (Czech Republic) 

Beiersdorf AG (Germany)

ITP International Travel Partnership (United Kingdom) 

The Travel Company Edinburgh (Scotland)

Wexas Travel Management (United Kingdom) 

AUSTIN INTERNATIONAL TRAVELS (India) 

Matrix Travel Management (United Kingdom)

ANAVCO (DR Congo)

Advanced Travel Partners - ATPI (United Kingdom)

Mocenigo Tours (Italy)

Bouda Ltd (United Kingdom)

Cresta World Travel (United Kingdom)

Eton Travel Ltd (United Kingdom)

Kiwi Travel Ltd (United Kingdom) 

Corporate Travel Partners Limited (United Kingdom) 

Makino, Inc.

Wells Fargo & Company

Lumbermens Merchandising Corp.

Bridgewater State University

TravelStore Inc.

Trevenue 

Travel One, Inc.

Tower Travel Management

Cruise Center USA

Flextronics International Management Services, Ltd.

A & I Travel Management, Inc. 

Global Travel Identity Solutions LLC

Anthony Travel, Inc.

MacNair Travel Management

GlobalPoint Travel Solutions

Adelman Travel

The Joselyn Consulting Group

Geraci Travel

Contract Travel

Berger Travel Agency, Inc.

WorldTravelService

Travel Experts, Inc.

Gant Travel

Antietam Travel Service, Inc.

Premiere Travel

Travel Management Partners, Inc.

LXR Travel LLC

J Walker Service Group LLC

Discount Travel Brokerage Services, Inc.

Bursch Travel

EL SOL TRAVEL INC

Me and delCano Travel Consultants

Accent / Universal Travel 

Wilcox World Travel and Tours

Trimble Navigation Ltd 

Flextronics International Management Services, Ltd.

Turon Travel, Inc. 

Pro Sky Group

FBI TRAVEL 

Tier One Travel Inc

Nomad Travels

Alive Travel

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