22 February 2009

29 March - New GDS Rules in Europe

So with a whimper more than a bang the new GDS rules will be taking effect in Europe next month. What could have been a radical change of the market will largely result in a legal status quo. For those of us who filed comments and followed it - this is an interesting result.

The politics won in the end - intense lobbying efforts by Amadeus ensured that the change was somewhat watered down. Happily at the end of the day the impact of their efforts was largely negated by common sense.

What I find most interesting is that one of the big issues - carrier ownership in a GDS - has been largely overtaken by the divergence of the needs of the former family/partners/friends.

The increasingly ugly fights that are now going on - LH vs. Amadeus over the Preferred Fares Program and AA vs. Sabre over a large number of issues - point to the facts that their businesses are now fundamentally at odds. The GDSs must shoulder the blame here fore milking the cash cow model too long.

How will it end? We don't know yet. But speculating - we will definitely see different set of relationships emerging and I believe that there will be a new world order emerging in 2 years. Smarter heads will prevail.

One thing is for sure - the days of GDS dominance in distribution are nearing sunset. The sun has already dipped behind several buildings. Night is fast approaching. In my opinion it will not be a lingering and slow change, rather we will see a moment of change that will be radical and indeed for many people astonishingly rapid. Buckle up! The time for dancing around the issues is long gone. Planning and option evaluations leading to action better be high on your priority list - no matter where you sit in the continuum.


No comments: