Open Allies for Airfare Transparency (Open Allies), a coalition of major travel firms, is calling on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to withdraw, modify and resubmit its “New Distribution Capability” (NDC) resolution to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The goal is to ensure that it is consistent with promises recently adopted at IATA’s Annual General Meeting on June 3, 2013, Open Allies said.
Open Allies said that in May 2013, it submitted comments to the DOT urging the rejection of IATA’s Resolution 787 to develop a new airline ticketing scheme. Open Allies said it believes this proposed inter-carrier agreement, if approved, will increase airfares, reduce competition, invade consumer privacy and penalize airline consumers.
On June 3, 2013, at their annual conference, airline members of IATA adopted a new resolution which appears to be an attempt to address the serious concerns raised by Open Allies and numerous other travel and consumer organizations regarding the NDC.
In light of the promised changes that were made during IATA deliberations this week, Open Allies has asked the U.S. DOT to suspend consideration of IATA’s current Resolution 787.
“In light of the new amendments that IATA carriers at the AGM have signaled could be made to Resolution 787, and unless IATA disclaims any intention to rely in this proceeding on the statements by the AGM, Open Allies respectfully requests that DOT find that IATA’s pending application for approval of Resolution 787 is not ripe for consideration given the ambiguities and uncertainties that have been highlighted in the Open Allies and other comments," Open Allies said.
"If IATA files a modified Resolution 787 incorporating changes consistent with the AGM Resolution, the Department should issue a scheduling order that allows interested parties 45 days to comment after IATA’s new application has been judged by DOT to be complete," Open Allies said.
“Resolution 787 and the explanatory documents prepared by IATA paint a concerning picture of the purpose and effects of NDC. Open Allies would welcome substantive, enforceable changes to that Resolution that truly eliminate the likely harm stemming from the agreement currently on file with DOT," the group said.
"The stakes for consumers and other stakeholders are simply too great to accept any ambiguity about the precise terms of the inter-carrier agreement for which IATA seeks DOT’s approval, and in the present circumstances ambiguity unfortunately reigns," Open Allies said.
Open Allies for Airfare Transparency is a coalition of nearly 400 independent distributors and sellers of air travel, corporate travel departments, travel trade associations and consumer organizations.
Open Allies believes air travelers should be able to see, compare and buy the complete air travel product. That is, that all airline fares and fees should be transparent to, and purchasable by, the traveling public, enabling consumers to comparison shop for their fares on an “all-in” (fares+taxes+fees) “apples-to-apples” basis across airlines.