EU probes booking providers

The EU opened last week a formal investigation into whether agreements between booking system providers Amadeus and Sabre and airlines and travel agents restrict competition in breach of EU antitrust rules, the EU press service reported. “Our investigation focuses on possible restrictions. We are concerned that such restrictions could create barriers to innovation and raise ticket distribution costs,” Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

The Commission will investigate whether certain terms in Amadeus' and Sabre's agreements with airlines and travel agents may restrict the ability of airlines and travel agents to use alternative suppliers of ticket distribution services. They say this may make it harder for suppliers of new ticket distribution services to enter the market, as well as increase distribution costs for airlines.

Amadeus and Sabre are leading worldwide suppliers of Computerised Reservation Systems. These systems aggregate information about flight schedules, seat availability and ticket prices from multiple airlines. They enable travel agents and travel management companies to compare airline services and reserve and issue tickets on behalf of travellers.

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