Airlines, ticket firms battle over booking system
Executive Director of the International Air Transport Association Tony Tyler attends the 68th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Beijing, China, on Monday. (AP/Ng Han Guan)
Airlines want to raise new revenues by selling extras such as guaranteed seat assignments, special meals and lounge access.
They're locked in battle with three companies that dominate the bookings industry over the introduction of a new global reservation system.
Carriers complain the current system is a costly 1970s throwback without Internet-era convenience. They want to cut out the global ticketing systems to save money.
Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe said at an aviation industry conference in Beijing on Tuesday that carriers might be forced to abandon traditional distributors if they fail to change.
The ticketing systems retort that they have invested to upgrade services and are working hard to meet carriers' needs.