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14 Sep 2015

BY Rob Gill

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TRFBLI

GDS association complains to EU over Lufthansa charge

The trade body for GDSs and online travel agencies has launched a formal complaint to the EU against Lufthansa over its €16 fee for GDS bookings.

Lufthansa tailfin

The European Technology & Travel Services Association (Ettsa) is alleging that Lufthansa, along with its sister carriers Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines, are breaching “key provisions” of the EU’s Code of Conduct on computerised reservation systems (CRS).

Lufthansa Group, which includes all four airlines, has been charging a €16 fee for all GDS bookings since the start of this month. This fee is not levied if bookings are made directly through Lufthansa’s websites.

Ettsa’s secretary general Christoph Klenner said: “The only way for travel agents to avoid the discriminatory surcharge is to switch from traditional GDSs to an alternative platform controlled by Lufthansa, where only such content is shown that Lufthansa chooses to show.”

The association has filed its complaint with the EC’s Directorate-General of Mobility and Transport, which is responsible for enforcement on the Code of conduct.

"In addition to taking travel agencies hostage and forcing them to spend unnecessary resources on the switch to Lufthansa’s platform, Lufthansa’s move will severely hurt comparison shopping and competition," added Klenner,

"Ultimately, this will lead to a more restricted choice and increased prices for consumers who will become increasingly captive.”

Klenner said that if Lufthansa “wants to run a GDS, it needs to follow the rules for GDSs”.

“The EU Code of Conduct was designed precisely to prevent abuse by airlines who control GDSs,” he said. “Therefore, the European Commission has a duty to step up and intervene in the interest of continued transparency and consumer choice.”

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