News Releases
news coverage
News Media
PFF Highlights
News Release
May 5, 2003
CONTACT: David Fish
(202) 289-8928

Air Travel Distribution Topic of
Friday Capitol Hill Event

United Airlines, Orbitz Discuss Regulation in Internet

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Travel purchases are the largest segment of the online business-to-consumer market, and competition is fierce among online vendors. Given this burgeoning marketplace, should the Computer Reservation Systems (CRS) that provide information about reservations and enable agents to book and issue tickets continue to be subject to old-style federal regulations? That question is the focus of a Congressional Seminar this Friday, “Regulation of Air Travel Distribution: Still Needed in the Internet Age?”

Featuring officials of United Airlines and Orbitz, as well as legal and economic experts, the May 9 event will be held in Room 1539 of the Longworth House Office Building from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. It is the third in this year’s series of Progress & Freedom Foundation Congressional Seminars.

Speakers include William F. Adkinson, Jr., senior policy counsel, The Progress & Freedom Foundation; Gary Doernhoefer, VP, general counsel and secretary, Orbitz; Steven Salop, Professor, Georgetown University Law School; and Stephen P. Sawyer, assistant general counsel, United Airlines, Inc. The moderator will be Thomas M. Lenard, senior fellow and VP for research, The Progress & Freedom Foundation.

Any one interested in attending the Congressional Seminar should contact Rebecca Fuller of the Foundation at 202-289-8928 or A buffet lunch will be served.

In official comments filed in DOT’s rulemaking proceeding to modify CRS regulations, Adkinson said the agency "underestimates the strength of disciplining forces in the market." He cited "the bargaining strength of airlines, the rivalry among CRSs for travel agents, and the competition among travel agents to serve air travelers," emphasizing "emerging developments such as the rise of Internet distribution and reduced airline control of CRSs." He said the DOT-adopted regime “poses a multitude of regulatory risks, including becoming obsolete due to marketplace developments, imposing unintended consequences, and skewing competition between regulated and unregulated sectors.”

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the impact of the digital revolution and its implications for public policy.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation