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The U.S. Department of Transportation does not expect to
publicly reveal before January 2012 a new proposal on airlines' disclosure of
optional service fees through global distribution systems. According to a DOT
update issued last week, a public comment period following that Supplemental
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would extend until June 2012.
DOT last month issued final rules on a cluster of consumer
protections but punted on a requirement that would have forced airlines to make available through indirect channels optional services fee data. At the time,
DOT claimed it needed time "to obtain additional information about costs,
benefits and consequences of requiring U.S. and foreign carriers to provide
ancillary fee information to GDSs."
Though it wouldn't be made public right away, a proposal on
fee disclosure should take shape this summer. DOT expects the Transportation
Secretary's office by the end of August to prepare the rule and submit it to
the Office of Management and Budget. OMB's evaluation likely would last through
the end of the year, according to DOT.
DOT last month acknowledged that a hastily written
rulemaking could have "unintended consequences, particularly given the
sensitive nature of the market and the negotiations currently taking place
between carriers and the GDSs."
DOT already has sought and received a wealth of public
comments on the matter, which it has been considering since June 2010. Airlines
generally have opposed new regulations on fee data displays, while GDSs in the
name of pricing transparency have encouraged DOT to move the rulemaking
Source: The Beat