Long-standing rules for how Global Distribution Systems are regulated have been labelled “imprecise and toothless” by an influential European politician.
The comments were made this week by Conservative MEP Timothy Kirkhope who will be chairing a crucial debate in the European Parliament next week which could see a major overhaul of rules governing the acitivities of GDSs.
Airlines could be obliged to provide the same fares to all global distribution systems, under new EU proposals.
The European Parliament is about to debate an amended code of conduct governing computer reservation systems for air and rail travel across the EU.
The new rules would prevent airlines which have a share in a GDS from giving themselves an unfair advantage over their competitors by appearing first in the display or offering special deals to their own GDS.
Of the three major GDSs, only Amadeus is owned by Air France, Iberia and Lufthansa as minority shareholders.
Kirkhope said: “There has been a code of conduct for the behaviour of airlines but it has been imprecise and toothless.
“Under these rules airlines will have to be more transparent and provide the same options to all GDSs.”
He believes creating a level playing field could also reduce the price of fares.
“Ticket prices are artificially high. They could be reduced if there is a better competitive situation,” he said.
The rules would also ensure that the price in the principal display of the CRS would be the final one and detail all taxes and surcharges.
Train services should also be featured on the first screen on all journeys of up to 90 minutes and there would be more information about CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.
The proposals will be debated at the European Parliament on Wednesday 3 September.