Last month, Air India stopped participating in the Amadeus global distribution system, and the carrier plans to limit participation in Sabre next year. The actions follow an exclusive distribution agreement Air India inked with Travelport, which will see the GDS operator, hungry for growth in India, become the sole distributor of Air India's domestic fare content in the carrier's home market.
Amadeus submitted the following letter to add context to its original statement published in an article this week.
Amadeus during its third-quarter results presentation Wednesday acknowledged that moves by the three largest European airline groups to surcharge global distribution system bookings and drive bookings directly to their own channels are playing a role in disintermediating the GDSs. Yet, CEO Luis Maroto said he wasn't too worried about an acceleration in disintermediation.
The European Commission on Friday announced it has opened an investigation into Amadeus and Sabre to explore whether the agreements each has with airlines and travel agencies "restrict competition in breach of E.U. antitrust rules."
This morning, Amadeus announced Carlson Wagonlit Travel entered into "a multi-year renewal and expansion of a long-term business partnership." Sabre, too, inked CWT to "a new long-term agreement that broadens their long-standing business partnership and deepens the companies' close collaboration on technological innovations being developed for mutual growth and success."
Airline bookings processed worldwide on the Amadeus global distribution system during the second quarter rose 3 percent year over year to 145 million. Airline bookings across all major GDSs rose nearly 5 percent, representing a rare year-over-year decline in market share for Amadeus.
Amadeus has reached a settlement agreement with consumer plaintiffs in a federal antitrust lawsuit filed in 2015 against the three major global distribution system operators. If the court approves the settlement, as it did for fellow GDS operator Travelport, Sabre would be left as the lone GDS defendant in the case, which seeks class-action status.
Amadeus announced American Express Global Business Travel and Carlson Wagonlit Travel will pilot airline distribution in accordance with the International Air Transport Association's New Distribution Capability standard. The announcement came Wednesday, a day after competing distribution player Sabre announced its own NDC pilots with those two mega travel management companies.
Amadeus and Travelport have long provided systems that facilitate the distribution of travel content on a global basis. Yet, each has distanced itself from the "global distribution system" tag and all the baggage that comes with it.
As the only remaining defendant in a consumer-led lawsuit against the three major global distribution systems, Sabre has moved to settle out of court with each of the remaining plaintiffs.