The UBC Board of Governors has approved an agreement which designates Canadian Airlines International Ltd. as the university's official airline.
The agreement is designed to significantly increase rebates to faculties and departments based on the volume of air travel completed by faculty and staff.
"The ability of our faculty and staff to travel on university business and research is integral to our mission," said UBC President Martha Piper. "By combining the considerable purchasing power of the university and directing the majority of our business to a single airline, we will generate substantial revenues which will benefit faculty and department travel budgets."
The agreement, which took effect Jan. 1, will coincide with an amendment to the university's travel policy requiring employees to use two designated travel agencies -- North South Travel and The Rider Travel. The travel agencies were selected by a university travel committee, with campus-wide representation.
By streamlining the number of travel agencies, designating one official airline carrier, and introducing a ticketless air travel system, the university is estimated to gain close to $1 million per year in revenues and savings.
This compares to the estimated $75,000 the university would have generated by maintaining the status quo in 1998. By negotiating an overall agreement, the university was able to avert shortfalls due to recent trends in the travel industry, including the capping of commissions earned from airlines. In addition, the continued use of travel agencies not contracted with UBC would have resulted in the charge of service fees for each ticket issued to university departments. Connie Fabro, UBC's travel manager, estimates that at an average of $30 per ticket, service charges on the 12,000 tickets issued per year by the university would have totalled $360,000.
The agreement does not change university policy which states the traveller may retain for personal use any frequent flyer points accumulated from university travel.
In addition, the Board of Governors approved an amendment to the university travel policy which enables the designated travel agencies to book with a competing airline if:
There are no Canadian Airline International (CAI) flights to the required destination or there are no seats available on CAI flights to the required destination;
There are seats available on CAI flights to the required destination but the competing flights are non-stop where the CAI flight has one or more stops;
There are seats available on CAI flights to the required destination but such CAI flights do not have departure or arrival times within two hours for North American travel or four hours for international travel of competing flights;
There are seats available on CAI flights to the required destination but such CAI flights are more expensive than competing flights; or
One or more of the unions with which CAI has a collective agreement is in a legal position to strike.
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