12 April 2011

ASTA and BTC Try Scare Tactics On Public

Those nice people at BTC and ASTA having failed with the formal amendment to the FAA re authorization bill is now resorting to scare tactics to try one last ditch effort to get their nose into the political pork trough. According to Travel Agent Central website:

In a letter to the industry, the BTC noted that, over the next few weeks, there will be U.S. House and Senate meetings to reconcile competing Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bills.

‘This will be our last opportunity to influence the outcome of one of the most important issues facing our industry,” the BTC and ASTA said.

The conference committee that will conduct these reconciliation meetings will be comprised of several senators and representatives led by Senator John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) and Congressman John Mica (R-7th FL) respectively, BTC said.

“We have previously provided members of Congress with the perspective of leisure-travel consumers on this issue,” BTC said. “It is now time to focus committee members on the concerns and views of major corporate buyers of air transportation services, i.e. corporate travel managers.” END QUOTE.

OK So lets speak again with the truth in mind.

1. The BTC/ASTA amendment to HR658 was voted down in Congress. So it was given a good chance with a debate in the House of Representatives but failed on a vote. To be sure it was requested that this be a formal vote count rather than the usual voice vote. It still lost.

2. The FAA re-authorization bill has NOTHING to do with Ancillary Service Fees.

But that does not seem to deter ASTA and BTC from their mission.

These esteemed organizations - well one which is a proper membership organization and files all the necessary paperwork to be so - are misleading both the Congress and the general public to support their own ends.

Let us not bury this provision into the vital FAA vote for the future of our safe Air Traffic Control system.

If you want to do this - then you have plenty of lobbying power to introduce such a bill into Congress directly. For clarity - this is NOT THE LAST CHANCE. You have so many chances. BUT please be honest with the public and the industry at large.

To ASTA and BTC - please come clean about this effort. Tell the world where your funding is coming from and also disclose publicly that there are existing provisions for the disclosure of the fees. Forcing this disclosure exclusively via a GDS - which was the original aim of BTC seems to have slipped from their vocabulary. So what we are left with is a requirement for a regulation that is at best unnecessary - at worst more cost to the American taxpayer.

Thank you again from diverting the lawmakers attention from important things like the budget.


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