Air Transport World

End the CRS Oligopoly.(use of computerized reservation systems for air travel )

Over the past three years, we have witnessed a revolution in the way in which airlines distribute their product. The imposition of price caps on travel agent commissions, the development of "paperless" travel and the sale of tickets via the Internet and World Wide Web (see article, page 31) all are parts of this revolution, which was led by U.S. carriers and has resulted in substantial savings to the industry as a whole.

But there is one element of the distribution chain that has proved to be relatively immune from airline cost-cutting efforts: The computer reservations systems through which 75-80% of airline tickets are sold. To hear most U.S. airlines tell it, CRS costs are out of control. Northwest, for example, says its CRS costs have risen 34% since 1993, including a 10% increase this year. …

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