BA seeks to slash cost of distribution

British Airways is working with travel trade bodies ABTA and the Guild of Business Travel to cut distribution costs.

The airline is reviewing commission structures for travel agents and expenditure on UK marketing, including computer reservations and advertising.

It is also looking at technological developments, including airport ticket machines for business travellers who book direct from home computers. The company is planning to cut 20 per cent of its distribution costs, about 150m.

US airlines has already installed electronic ticket machines and have moved to cap travel agents’ commission on domestic flights. But the moves have led the American Society of Travel Agents to file an anti-trust law suit against United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta and others.

British Airways receives 85 per cent of its business through travel agents.

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