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.
German travel managers’ association VDR has told Lufthansa Group 70 percent of its members could book away from the airline group if it introduces its controversial €16 surcharge in its proposed form and without an acceptable distribution alternative.
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.
German travel managers’ association VDR is advising members to ensure that personal data sent to the United States by travel service providers is covered by European Union standard contractual clauses or binding corporate rules. The advice comes as EU and U.S. negotiators continue to thrash out a new agreement on data protection. Last week, the two sides announced they are creating a framework dubbed Privacy Shield to replace the less stringent Safe Harbor protections the European Court of Justice invalidated in October.
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.
Lufthansa's proposed €16 per-ticket surcharge on global distribution system bookings should not impact the airline group's financial performance in the short term and should have a positive effect farther out, Lufthansa CFO Simone Menne projected during the company's first-half-results conference call on Thursday.
Wasting no time to oppose the new NBTA Europe organization announced Wednesday, Germany's VDR business travel association said it declined to participate and would not only continue to support the predecessor Paragon group, but also possibly form a new German-speaking business travel confederation.
Siemens is talking to more airlines about building direct connections from their reservation systems into its booking tool, the company’s travel team told The Beat. Munich-based Siemens started a pilot connection, bypassing global distribution systems, to Lufthansa Group carriers in March and rolled out the interface across all divisions in Germany on Aug. 1. Lufthansa announced earlier this month it had completed connections to both Siemens and Volkswagen.
Airberlin, Germany's second-largest airline, on Feb. 1 will introduce a per-ticket fee on many travel agency bookings through global distribution systems that are paid for by credit card, an airline spokesperson confirmed.
Keeping compliant with the European Union's tough personal data privacy laws used to be straightforward. The EU exercises stricter data privacy laws than the United States. That's why it also has rules ensuring that transfers of data about its citizens across the Atlantic must comply with its more stringent standards. Meanwhile, many of the corporate travel industry's dominant service providers, and thus their primary data servers, are based in the United States. They import data about individuals—including names, employers, where the employees travel and credit card details—from Europe on a daily basis, and under a framework called Safe Harbor, U.S. companies could declare they transferred data in a compliant manner.