AFTA puts case forward to the ACCC

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has claimed that airlines are financially penalising travel intermediaries who choose to source inventory from channels that are not a carrier’s preferred path, resulting in higher costs for travellers.

THE organisation put forward the argument to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which is still deliberating the proposed alliance renewal and extension between Qantas and Emirates.

AFTA said it believes some of the main public benefits included in the Qantas/Emirates submission are overstated, and could be achieved through a regular codeshare without the level of coordination requested including on pricing, commissions and payments to travel agents.

The Federation also highlighted that the confirmed market share to the UK of 52%, which was detailed in the airlines’ application, “would allow the applicants to set prices amongst themselves and have strong coordination around distribution strategies”.

AFTA also pointed out the current “one-sided” nature of the regulatory environment, saying, “AFTA members can’t discuss any of the commercial arrangements that they wish to have with an airline or a group of airlines because ultimately they are competitors…but airlines can, either through individual alliances or authorisations”.

The ACCC’s public consultation is ongoing, with a draft ruling on the submission expected this month.

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