Universal Air Travel Plan, Inc., the global corporate travel payment network, is experiencing record growth in business travel that began in October 2003 and is continuing into the second quarter of 2004. Charge volume for March 2004 surpassed all forecasts and exceeded 10 year historic volume highs usually set during peak travel booking times in the fourth quarter.
Total charge volume for 2003 exceeded USD 7.0 billion, a 10 percent gain over 2002 volume despite such world events as SARS and the conflict in Iraq that significantly pushed charge volumes down for the first half of 2003.
UATP is beginning to see the same type of numbers it was posting prior to 11 September 2001, Ralph Kaiser, UATP s president and chairman said. The industry is in a period of recovery, and although fragile, the double digit growth UATP is experiencing shows the strength of our product and that the business travel cycle is moving up.
Since taking over as president and chairman of UATP in October 2003, Kaiser has reduced expenses and pushed strategic investment initiatives to reverse UATP s downward trend during the airline industry down cycle. UATP is broadening its customer base and obtaining operational efficiencies with enhanced technology and customer oriented products, Kaiser said.
The UATP Settlement Solution (USS) is bringing travel agencies into the UATP network as Merchants and providing a non-clearinghouse settlement solution for discount or low cost carriers that want to capture the benefits of the UATP payment network. These new carriers are joining our merchant base and we see promising growth on the issuing side as well. UATP plans to announce several exciting new card issuers in the next 12 months, Kaiser said.
UATP accounts are actively issued by 15 member airlines and accepted as a form of payment for corporate business travel by more than 200 airlines worldwide. Airlines currently issuing UATP accounts include Aer Lingus, Air New Zealand, Alitalia, American Airlines (NYSE: AMR), Austrian Airlines, British Airways (NYSE: BAB), Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL), Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL), Japan Airlines (OTC: JALSY), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines, Qantas Airways, Ltd., Scandinavian Airlines System, United Airlines (OTC Bulletin Board: UALAQ) and US Airways (NASDAQ: UAIR). For more information, visit uatp.com.