17 March 2008

IAPA sees the light - Yes Amadeus is airline controlled (maybe)

Couched in respective terms the BTC Press release (below) shows that the passenger groups are beginning to understand that there is a hidden impact to the new proposed CRS rules from the EC.

Users and consumers (Agencies and travellers) need to pay attention to the new rules which provide a wide open door to abuse by airlines owning GDS entities. In this case the only player impacted is Amadeus. Where I believe the EC did not address enough attention is in the quasi GDS environment of airline hosting.

You read and be the judge.



Press Release
London, UK, March 17, 2008

IAPA fears European CRS Code of Conduct review will lead to higher fares

The European Parliament is currently considering revisions to the CRS (Computer Reservations System) Code of Conduct proposed by the European Commission.

Although the principles of the revised Code of Conduct remain solid and seem to afford protection to consumers regarding neutrality and transparency of information presented on CRS, there is a potentially fatal flaw which could result in higher fares.

The flaw is that the Code of Conduct could effectively be rendered impotent by a new interpretation of the term “parent carrier”. This term has always been understood to apply to airlines that own a share of a CRS, and the Code has key restrictions on such airlines’ behaviour to prevent them from introducing bias to the CRS display that would favour their own flights.

Now IAPA understands that what constitutes a “parent carrier” could be interpreted (for the first time) as excluding the key airlines Lufthansa, Air France and Iberia which, between them, own 46% of Amadeus, the leading CRS in Europe.

The implications of this are that these airline would no longer be constrained by the restrictions of the Code, and travel agents, consumers and competitive airlines alike would have to rely on those airlines’ good nature and sense of fair play to ensure that CRS flight listings remain neutral and unbiased.

If this proves not to be enough, these airlines could squeeze competitive flights and fares off the crucial first page of results from travel agents’ CRS displays and some key internet travel sites, allowing them to increase their own fares. Meanwhile, the worthy clauses of the Code of Conduct, which have served travel agents and airline passengers well for nearly two decades, would gather dust on the shelves.

IAPA is calling on all MEPs to ensure that the intentions of the Code are honoured in practice and not just on paper, and to ensure that a level of ownership of 46% is actually recognised as leading to the potential for influence.


No comments: