As it prepares for divorce from the European Union, the U.K. no doubt has bigger priorities than to iron out its governing regulations for airline distribution and global distribution systems. Opting to maintain the status quo, the U.K. has chosen to adopt, upon its March 29 exit from the EU, the European Commission's decade-old computer reservations system code of conduct.
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."
A European trade body that represents global distribution systems and online travel agencies filed a complaint Thursday with a European watchdog. It alleges that authorities failed to adequately investigate Lufthansa Group's 16 euro global distribution system surcharge and to enforce European Union regulations.
The European Commission is reviewing "all provisions" of its code of conduct for computerized reservations systems, which is the governing regulation for global distribution systems in the European Union.
Total first-quarter bookings processed through Amadeus' global distribution system rose 3.4 percent year over year to 177 million, as airline bookings rose nearly 4 percent to 160 million and non-air bookings increased 1 percent to 17 million. The Spain-based travel distribution and IT company reported its own air booking growth was in line with total GDS industry levels, according to its quarterly earnings report Friday.
Airline passengers impacted by some canceled flights and long delays or involuntary bumping in Europe are entitled to receive as much as €600 from culpable airlines under European Union law. Finalized in 2004 and taking effect the following year, EC Regulation 261 established "common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights." Around this passenger protection, an industry of claims chasers has proliferated. Some of them, the European Commission noted this month, are shady.
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.
Global distribution system segments processed by Travelport—including air, hotel, car and rail—fell 4 percent year over year during the third quarter amid "customer headwinds," the company reported Thursday.