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The Transnational Letters: Lufthansa, Data, And Corporate Contracts

Re: Lufthansa Denies Improper Use Of Data
This sounds familiar, like a song we heard from a major U.S. airline more than ten years ago, that ultimately swept across the industry. We were told the intention was not to see anything inappropriate, but is that what is really happening? Back then, world events overtook the issue and domestic pricing became a minor issue and most everyone got in line. [more]
Now, on another continent, buyers face the very same issue. An airline insists they have the details of all the corporation's airline relationships or they cannot do business with you, but of course, they will not see anything they are not supposed to see. It's like the old story about the young man and his date that drive to the beach. The girl climbs into the back seat and says, "Now don't look, I'm going to change into my bathing suit."... "OK," and if you believe that, I have a bridge across the Rhine I'll sell you.
Buyers are asked to accept that a contractor, paid for by the airline, isn't going to reveal any proprietary information about the corporation's deals with competitor airlines. Really? How about having an independent auditor look at the data the airline is requiring and certifying no proprietary information could be obtained, even by default--say on city pairs where the airline has only one competitor. How do you mask that?
Just to make it fair, how about a report from the airline to the buyer, showing perhaps Siemens AG what Phillips is paying on the same routes -- with the names masked of course?
We see an industry that has been dysfunctional almost since the Wright Brothers. They control schedules, aircraft type, prices in transparent market, the number of seats available at that price, with the ability of changing that price and the number of seats several times per day. Most industries would love that kind of pricing ability, not airlines; they need to measure how well corporate clients are doing "share wise" whether or not the seats you want are available at that price, when you need them. If you miss your target, you can lose your deal even if the price bucket you wanted was unavailable.
Some wines just don't improve with age...
~ Peter Turso, Seaside Consulting LLC