BTIUK chief operating officer Mike Platt has hit out at the European Commission’s ruling that British Airways’ previous deals with agents were illegal.
Platt said the timescale given to BA to agree new terms with agents – by August 31- is almost impossible, and claimed the customer will ultimately lose out over the EC’s decision in the form of paying higher fares.
He said: “This is a huge and unreasonable challenge in my view. I believe the EC has made a decision in a fashion which can only be viewed as discriminatory.
“BA has been put in an horrendous position and could now go from a perception of being advantaged over its position to being completely disadvantaged.
“The airline is definitely going to be damaged by this and the commission has not really understood the damage this decision is going to do.”
Platt added: “The time frame given by the EC to negotiate contracts is an extremely unreasonable one. BA has just a few weeks to completely change its deal relationships with travel agencies.
“This is at a time of year when many people are away on holiday. The timescales are very tight. The other problem is that BA’s legal team is still looking at the ruling.
“It is very hard to know what can be done and what cannot be done at this stage, yet critical decisions have to be made.”
Platt said the traveller will end up paying more for a ticket because of the ban on BA paying overrides.
He said: “This will effectively damage the customer because most overrides in some way shape or form find their way back to the customer. If they are not there, the customer will get a worse deal.”
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