Sabre will sunset Prism Group's Avion travel management software product at the end of the year.
German travel manager's association VDR submitted a formal petition to the country's federal cartel office alleging that data consolidators Prism and the International Air Transport Association "violate data protection and competition regulations in disclosing corporate data when booking flights," according to a VDR statement.
A JetBlue Airways official confirmed that the airline is implementing Prism, the Sabre-owned software used by most major U.S. airlines and some overseas to measure client market share when crafting and monitoring corporate deals.
At its spring conference in Berlin this month, German travel managers' association VDR bestowed on Prism Group a distinction that the U.S.-based travel data consolidation specialist neither sought nor welcomed. Awarded annually for the greatest business travel annoyance, VDR's "Return To Sender" recognition for 2013 went to all airlines requiring corporate customers to submit booking data through Prism if they wish to receive the best possible discount offers.
Following a landmark Oct. 6 ruling by the EU’s highest legal authority, multinational travel service providers that house data in the United States are facing a supersize data management problem related to European Union-based customers. Under the Safe Harbor agreement, U.S. companies have self-audited their adherence to the EU’s stricter data privacy standards since 2000, but the European Court of Justice has ruled that agreement invalid. As an example of the battles ahead, German travel buyer's association VDR said its members need to reexamine contracts with all service providers to verify whether personal employees' data is adequately protected. VDR also suggested that service providers move data storage for EU-based customers to the EU.
Sabre announced it bought Prism Group, provider of airline corporate sales decision support tools and corporate data consolidation services. Financial terms were not disclosed. Now part of Sabre's Airline Solutions unit, Prism claims more than 40 airlines, joint ventures, alliances and other companies as clients.
When Sabre last year purchased Prism, the company not only picked up the tool that most of the world's largest airlines use to develop and monitor corporate marketshare agreements, but also a patent that provides an opportunity to bring those contracting methods and technologies to other travel categories, including hotel and rental car.
Sabre's acquisition of Prism should concern travel buyers in terms of data privacy and airlines in that it makes Sabre stronger, according to some observers. But the principals said Prism would operate essentially as it has, remaining independent from other Sabre areas in which airline relationships have been confrontational.
The following is a proposal to speak at The Beat Live. Readers of The Beat will vote for their choice among five proposals, and the speaker with the most votes will deliver a keynote speech on Wednesday Sept. 21.