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Parliamentary questions
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11 June 2019
Answer given by Ms Bulc on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-001425/2019

The Commission would like to recall that two types of air tickets distribution modes coexist: direct (e.g. airlines’ own websites) and intermediated (e.g. via travel agents, who often use computerised reservation systems (CRS), which are also known as global distribution systems). As a general principle, airlines are free to decide how they distribute their products through the different channels. Traditional network carriers continue to distribute a significant share of their tickets through CRSs, contrary to low cost carriers, which sell most of their tickets via their own websites. Overall, it is estimated that 45% of all airline tickets in Europe are currently sold through CRSs.

When travel agents use a CRS to book airline tickets, the airline pays booking fees to the CRS. This has led some airlines to apply a surcharge on tickets that are sold by travel agents using CRSs. In general, travel agents and consumers can still buy the tickets of these airlines without paying a surcharge, by using other distribution channels.

The Aviation Strategy (2015) considered that regulation (EC) No 80/2009 on a Code of Conduct for CRS governing airline ticket distribution might no longer reflect entirely the market reality. Against this background the Commission is currently evaluating the Code of Conduct and the conclusions are expected in the second half of 2019. Innovation and competition to the benefit of consumers are guiding principles for this exercise.

Last updated: 13 June 2019Legal notice