Bisignani Berates GDS 'Leeches,' Promotes New Data Solution

IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani today once again took the occasion of the group's annual general meeting to lash out against global distribution systems. Two years ago, he suggested airlines are "held hostage to GDSs." Last June in Kuala Lumpur, he said that airlines "cannot accept" $4 per transaction fees charged by "Western" GDSs. Today in Berlin, it was clear that his language had become more colorful and combative.
 [more]In listing "downside risks" to the airline industry's apparent recovery, however modest, Bisignani told attendees, "This year we have a special place on the Wall of Shame for the Western GDSs. They are leeches charging at least $4 per transaction when China Travel Sky does it for just $1.20. On top of that, they sell you your data with a seven-digit price tag. That is pure profit. We will break their monopoly on your data with a cost-effective solution." (The transcript of Bisignani's speech is posted here.)
According to the International Air Transport Association's newly released annual report, "A potential enhancement to PaxIS is under review and development. The Direct Data Service (DDS) will be based upon data sourced from BSPs but supplemented by data directly contributed by the airlines." IATA's PaxIS (Passenger Information Services), according to the group, "offers comprehensive, timely, and reliable passenger intelligence information." It has drawn criticism from travel agency groups that have claimed PaxIS violates data protection rules in the European CRS Code of Conduct. According to a Business Travel Coalition statement issued in October 2009, "The IATA PaxIS product is an especially intrusive and troubling data product because unlike any other data product, PaxIS shows the average price of tickets sold on specific routes on airline competitors by specific travel agents."