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Will BA pass on e-commerce savings to customers?

'Who knows?'

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British Airways - one the airlines behind a new on-line travel agency - said it would not necessarily reduce ticket prices for consumers, despite announcing that the new portal is expected to "significantly cut the cost of selling and distributing tickets for the member companies".

When asked if BA would reduce airfares for online bookers a spokeswoman for the airline said: "Who knows?"

So, there you have it. E-commerce is a money saver, but for BA at least, it's something it would rather not share with its customers.

The yet-to-be-named portal is expected to attract a "significant proportion of total on-line travel sales in Europe within the next two years", the airline announced today.

It will feature up-to-date fare information, including the airlines' lowest branded fares. Travellers will also be able to book hotels, car hire, insurance and other travel services through the site.

The other airlines taking part in the standalone and quite separate e-venture are Air France, Lufthansa, Alitalia, KLM, Iberia, SAS, Aer Lingus, Austrian Airlines Group, British Midland and Finnair.

Executives at e-bucket shop Lastminute.com are reportedly unmoved by the announcement and believe it will not impact its business selling cut-price flights and holidays. ®

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