Lufthansa has challenged Travel Weekly Europe’s report last week that the European Commission is investigating whether the airline group’s charge for GDS bookings breaches EU rules.

The Lufthansa Group imposed a €16 Distribution Cost Charge (DCC) on GDS bookings two years ago. It subsequently introduced an online booking tool for GDS-using travel agents to avoid the charge.

In a statement, Lufthansa said: “The EU commission is exclusively looking at the question [of] if the DCC-free booking-tool is in breach of the Code of Conduct for Computer Reservation Systems (CRS).

“Lufthansa is in discussion about this issue with the EU commission since two years already. A general investigation of the Distribution Cost Charge (DCC) is not [the] subject matter of the current discussions.”

A spokesman insisted: “It is not the case [that] the €16 Distribution Cost Charge is being investigated.”

However, European transport commissioner Violeta Bulc confirmed in a statement to the European Parliament last week: “The Commission is indeed investigating whether the €16 distribution cost charge introduced by the Lufthansa Group on bookings through a computerised reservation system breaches the . . . Code of Conduct for Computerised Reservation Systems.

“Commission services are working towards a final assessment and a decision will be taken once this assessment is completed.”

Her statement did not mention the DCC-free booking-tool

Bulc also explicitly referred to British Airways and Iberia’s intention to introduce a similar GDS surcharge of €9.50 from November 1.

She said: “The commission is aware of the decision by International Airlines Group to introduce a surcharge for tickets booked for British Airways and Iberia flights through a computerised reservation system.”

The EC regulation on computerised reservation systems, or global distribution systems (GDSs), is intended to ensure “air services by all airlines are displayed in a non-discriminatory way on travel agencies’ computer screens . . . as these distribution channels might influence the consumer choice”.