Travel Management Alliance Issues Appeal for U.S. Airlines to Reach Accord with Global Distribution Systems; Independent Travel Management Corporations Call for Consideration for Business Travel Needs; Assurances of Full Content and Fee Protection

WEST NORWALK, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aug. 9, 2006–Members of the Travel Management Alliance (TMA) are appealing to the travel industry to reach accord on travel distribution agreements and costs, and to take into consideration the needs of the corporate travel community, the source of nearly 20 percent of all travel in North America. Specifically, the organization, comprising independently owned travel management companies in the United States that specialize in corporate travel, balked at the prospect of facing $3.50-per-segment fees charged by the airlines if major North American carriers do not reach full content and service fee protection agreements with the industry’s leading Global Distribution Systems (GDS).

“Corporate travel organizations simply cannot absorb at $3.50 hit,” said Christopher Dane, TMA executive director. “TMA members use a variety of GDSs, and we fully support the concept of full content and protection from airline services fees as critical to our business success. If carriers can’t reach agreement with the prevailing GDSs, frankly it will be easier to change air carriers than the GDS.”

Dane cites as an example the current negotiations ongoing between American Airlines and Sabre Travel Network, the world’s largest global distribution system. “The fact that American Airlines can’t reach an accord with Sabre, for example, puts more than 25,000 travel agency locations at risk for dramatic cost increases — increases that corporations and business travelers can ill afford to bear. At TMA, we wholeheartedly support the full content being stressed by Sabre with regards to having the American product displayed in their system.

“We know that both American and Sabre have been strong supporters of the Travel Management distribution channel and our efforts to provide a full range of services to our mutual clients. Our belief is that it is in everyone’s interest to have this matter settled as quickly as possible to the satisfaction of all concerned. It is vital not to interrupt the ability of TMCs to provide accurate and complete information to the thousands of business travelers we work with each day.”

Dane stated that travel management companies, comprising more than 25% of total travel agencies in North America, resent being caught in the middle of supplier and distributor negotiations. “It’s hard for us to understand why some carriers seem blind to the concerns of the very consumers who often travel with the most frequency and pay the most lucrative fares,” he said. “Our organization alone represents total ticketing sales of $2.5 billion annually. Corporate travel is nothing for suppliers to take lightly.”

TMA members are expressing concern that industry turbulence created by failure of suppliers and distributors to reach consistent and predictable agreements have hurt the TMCs’ ability to pass along the benefits of the most competitive pricing and attentive, personal services for travel related programs and technology to their corporate customers. “Why, for example, has Sabre been successful in negotiating full content and protection agreements with six major North American airlines, and can’t seem to close the American deal? It would seem that a carrier as established as American would understand how devastating travel content fragmentation is to TMCs, corporations and business travelers alike.”

Dane pledged the support of TMA members to continue to work with both parties to help resolve outstanding differences and ensure the successful adoption of a mutually satisfactory contract.

About Travel Management Alliance

Travel Management Alliance, LLC is a unique organization and approach developed by several major, independently owned travel management companies in the U.S. Each provides complete, world-wide travel services for corporate and leisure clients. The Alliance members represent combined total sales of $2.5 billion and nearly 400 ticketing locations, with additional resources and volumes to provide customers cost saving travel management programs and services, state-of-the-art technology, comprehensive automated reports and web-based reporting programs and a wide array of value-added benefits. Visit TMA at