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EC opens investigation into airline ticket distribution services

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Staff Writer | November 24, 2018
The European Commission has opened a formal investigation to assess whether agreements between booking system providers Amadeus and Sabre on the one hand, and airlines and travel agents on the other, may restrict competition in breach of EU antitrust rules.
Europe   Amadeus and Sabre are suppliers of Computerised Reservation Systems
Amadeus and Sabre are leading worldwide suppliers of Computerised Reservation Systems, also known as Global Distribution Systems.

These systems aggregate information about flight schedules, seat availability and ticket prices from multiple airlines. They enable travel agents and travel management companies (both online and brick-and-mortar) to compare airline services and reserve and issue tickets on behalf of travellers.

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.

This may make it harder for suppliers of new ticket distribution services to enter the market, as well as increase distribution costs for airlines, which are ultimately passed on in the ticket prices paid by consumers.