The European Parliament will vote in plenary session on amendments to the Regulation proposal on computerised reservation systems (CRSs)1, which are used by travel agents to distribute air tickets. ECTAA and GEBTA consider crucial to maintain safeguards against the proved risk that airlines holding an investment stake in a CRS use this relation to twist the information provided to passengers. Without indispensable safeguards to check their behaviour, airline owned CRSs historically have reduced competition among airlines and CRSs, leading to higher fares and less consumer choice.
The initial wording of the Regulation proposal needs to be clarified in order to ensure the effective application of the safeguards to airlines that currently hold an investment stake in the largest CRS in Europe. While the amendment proposals approved in the parliamentary committee on transport would ensure such effective application, other amendments proposals would create if adopted a serious loophole in the application of the safeguards. The European Parliament is thus in charge of making the right choice to ensure fair and transparent air ticket distribution, to the benefit of European consumers.
ECTAA and GEBTA also encourage MEPs to maintain and apply to any party the prohibition to sell to airlines the marketing data collected by CRSs including the identity of the selling travel agent. The sale of such data to airlines harms indeed competition in air transport and its distribution.
(1) Computerised Reservation Systems (CRSs) are systems centralising air fares of subscribing carriers, which permits subscribing travel agents to provide instantaneous information on fares and availability to customers, as well as additional services and to compare between the available services.
ECTAA regroups the national associations of travel agents and tour operators in 29 European countries, of which 25 are within the European Union. GEBTA, the Guild of European Business Travel Agents represents 7 guilds and more than 300 travel management companies throughout Europe. ECTAA and GEBTA together represent 80.000 enterprises.
Source: ECTAA - Group of National Travel Agents’ and
Tour Operators’ Associations within the EU
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