Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) and the Right Direction


The Airline Reporting Corporation, commonly referred to as ARC, stands as a pivotal institution in the aviation sector. Established to bridge the gap between airlines and travel agencies, ARC has evolved into a cornerstone of the airline industry’s financial and data infrastructure. Its primary function is to provide settlement solutions, ensuring that transactions between airlines and travel agencies are streamlined, accurate, and efficient.

The Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) and Its Relationship with Airlines

Airlines, in their quest to reach a global audience and diversify their customer base, rely heavily on travel agencies to market and sell their services. This collaboration, while fruitful, necessitates a robust system to manage the vast number of transactions that occur daily. Enter the reporting corporation. ARC acts as an intermediary, handling the financial intricacies that arise from the sale of airline tickets through these agencies. By doing so, it alleviates the administrative burden on airlines, allowing them to focus on their core operations.

Moreover, ARC’s accreditation system is a testament to its commitment to maintaining industry standards. The ARC accreditation is a seal of approval, signaling to airlines that a travel agency operates with integrity and adheres to best practices. This is analogous to the IATA accreditation, another significant endorsement in the airline industry. Both accreditations instill confidence in airlines, assuring them that their partners are reliable and trustworthy.

In essence, the corporation ARC has not only facilitated smoother business travel transactions but has also fostered a symbiotic relationship between airlines and travel agencies. Through its rigorous reporting mechanisms and accreditation systems, ARC ensures that the business ecosystem thrives on mutual trust and shared objectives.

ARC Accreditation: A Gateway to Professional Recognition in the Airline Industry

The Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) is a pivotal entity in the realm of aviation, particularly in its interactions with US-based travel agencies. Established in 1984, ARC emerged as the successor to the Air Traffic Conference of America and has since grown to partner with nearly 400 airlines. Its primary role is to regulate and oversee transactions between airlines and travel agencies, ensuring that the financial intricacies of ticket sales are managed efficiently.

Why Pursue ARC Accreditation?

  1. Issuing Air Tickets: One of the most significant advantages of ARC accreditation is the ability to issue airline tickets. The process of flight reservation is twofold: booking and ticketing. While booking involves accessing flight information and creating a Passenger Name Record (PNR), ticketing is the final step where payment is made, and the airline confirms the reservation. With ARC accreditation, agencies can seamlessly book tickets either directly from airlines or through Global Distribution Systems (GDSs). However, it’s essential to note that not all ARC accreditation types grant ticketing privileges.
  2. Recognition and Credibility: Gaining ARC accreditation is akin to receiving an industry stamp of approval. Once accredited, agencies are listed on ARC’s Agency List, a recognition that resonates with travel professionals globally. This accreditation not only validates an agency’s legal status but also serves as a testament to its credibility and trustworthiness, streamlining collaborations with suppliers and partners.
  3. Access to Data, Tools, and Events: In today’s data-driven world, ARC offers a suite of tools that support travel agencies in business intelligence, analytics, and reporting. These tools allow agencies to monitor their performance, benchmark against competitors, and stay updated with industry trends. Additionally, ARC accreditation provides opportunities to participate in industry conferences, webinars, and other events, ensuring agencies remain at the forefront of industry developments.

The Accreditation Process:

ARC offers three primary types of accreditation:

  • ARC Accredited Agency (Full accreditation): This is the primary accreditation type, allowing travel agencies to issue airline tickets. Eligibility criteria include being registered in the US, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, or American Samoa; providing a financial bond or letter of credit; having designated personnel like an ARC Specialist; and submitting necessary documentation. The application process involves reviewing eligibility criteria, completing an application form, submitting required documents, and undergoing an interview.
  • ARC Verified Travel Consultant (VTC): This non-ticketing accreditation option provides all benefits of ARC participation, except for ticket issuance. It’s a cost-effective choice for agencies that can collaborate with a consolidator or a host agency for ticketing. The primary requirement for VTC is being US-based.
  • ARC Corporate Travel Department (CTD): Tailored for corporations, CTD accreditation aids in-house travel departments in managing relationships with travel suppliers. This accreditation is beneficial for businesses that frequently book travel services for employees, allowing them to book directly with GDSs and airlines.

ARC accreditation is a valuable asset for travel agencies and corporations alike. It not only enhances credibility but also provides access to a plethora of tools and resources, ensuring that businesses remain competitive in the ever-evolving airline industry.

ARC vs. IATAN Accreditation: Navigating the Dual Pathways of the Airline Industry

In the landscape of the airline industry, two prominent accreditation entities emerge: the Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) and the International Airlines Travel Agent Network (IATAN). While both serve to validate and recognize travel agencies, their scopes, functions, and benefits differ. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for agencies aiming to maximize their reach and credibility in the industry.

ARC Accreditation:

  • Scope: ARC primarily focuses on regulating and overseeing transactions between airlines and US-based travel agencies. It is the go-to accreditation for agencies operating within the United States, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.
  • Benefits: ARC accreditation allows agencies to issue airline tickets, ensuring seamless transactions between airlines and agencies. Additionally, it offers industry recognition, access to data tools, and participation in industry events.

IATAN Accreditation:

  • Scope: IATAN, a department of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), offers similar services but specifically targets US-located travel businesses. While IATA operates globally, IATAN’s focus remains on the US market.
  • Benefits: IATAN accreditation brings with it a certain status and industry recognition. Moreover, some travel suppliers offer exclusive discounts to IATAN ID cardholders, making it a valuable credential for agencies.

Why and When You Need Both:

  1. Comprehensive Recognition: While ARC accreditation is essential for US-based agencies to issue tickets and manage transactions, IATAN accreditation provides an added layer of industry recognition. Being accredited by both entities amplifies an agency’s credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of suppliers, partners, and customers.
  2. Access to Exclusive Benefits: IATAN offers certain perks, such as discounts for ID cardholders, which are not available through ARC. Agencies aiming to maximize their benefits and industry advantages would benefit from holding both accreditations.
  3. Dual Validation: For agencies seeking to establish a robust presence in the US market, holding both ARC and IATAN accreditations serves as dual validation of their legal status, operational integrity, and commitment to industry standards.
  4. Seamless Operations: While ARC facilitates ticket issuance and transaction management, IATAN’s focus on industry recognition and exclusive benefits ensures that agencies can operate seamlessly, accessing a broader range of services and perks.

While ARC and IATAN accreditations have their individual merits, holding both credentials provides agencies with a competitive edge. It not only enhances their operational capabilities but also positions them as industry leaders, recognized and respected by peers, partners, and customers alike.

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