News Release

Business Travel Buyers Will Foot the Bill For A Fragmented Travel Distribution System 

Jamie Colunga, 212-446-1877, jcolunga@sloanepr.com

Elie Jacobs, 212-446-1874, ejacobs@sloanepr.com


Alexandria, VA (January 5, 2011) – The National Business Travel Association (NBTA), the voice of the business travel industry, today commented on Sabre’s announcement regarding American Airlines: 


“Today’s news from Sabre represents a serious escalation of the growing conflict around airline-mandated “direct connects”, said Mike McCormick, Executive Director and COO, National Business Travel Association.  “Business travel buyers will ultimately foot the bill for marketplace fragmentation caused by airline initiatives that push the travel distribution marketplace in the wrong direction – away from transparency and competitiveness and toward confusion and higher costs.”


NBTA believes that “direct connect” proposals will lead to higher costs for two main reasons:



1) Airline mandated “direct connects” that bypass the existing distribution systems will result in a significant increase in capital expenditure that business travel buyers will eventually bear.  Travel management companies and agencies will need to build new systems to capture these "direct connect" fares on behalf of their business travel clients, resulting in higher costs overall.  


  2) Businesses that rely on clear and transparent fare information to negotiate for and maintain airline discount programs will find it far more difficult to track volume and enforce travel policies in a fragmented market.  This will ultimately result in higher costs for business travel buyers. 

“The current system for business travel procurement is marked by transparency, access and competition,” said McCormick.  “Any changes to this system must continue to provide business travel purchasers with the information they need to make informed travel investment decisions.  NBTA calls on all airlines with an interest in the business travel market to ensure their fares are made widely available to buyers through commonly-used distribution channels.” 

The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and corporate meetings organization. NBTA and its regional affiliates – NBTA Australia / New Zealand, the Brazilian Business Travel Association (ABGEV), NBTA Canada, NBTA Europe, NBTA Mexico, and NBTA USA – serve a network of more than 17,000 business travel professionals around the globe with industry-leading events, networking, education & professional development, research, news & information, and advocacy. NBTA members, numbering more than 5,000 in 30 nations, are corporate and government travel and meetings managers, as well as travel service providers. They collectively manage and direct more than US$340 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually on behalf of more than 13 million business travelers within their organizations. For more information, visit www.nbta.org