Euro MPs to vote on new GDS rules

European MPs will vote tomorrow on new rules governing the behaviour of airlines and global distribution systems.

The new rules would ­prevent airlines from giving themselves an unfair advantage over their competitors by appearing first in the display or offering special deals to their own GDS.

Air France, Iberia and Lufthansa are minority shareholders in Amadeus, while Travelport and Sabre are owned by private equity companies.

The move will quell travel agents’ fears that the sector will be deregulated, which happened in the US in 2004. Deregulation could mean agents using a single GDS would not have access to full content from every airline.

Conservative MEP Timothy Kirkhope, who will be chairing the debate, 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 fares.“Ticket prices are artifically 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 computer reservation system would be the final one and detail all taxes and surcharges. However, the EU has already ruled that this will become compulsory from May next year.

Under the proposals, 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.

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