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Air Ticket Distribution and Regulation 80/2009 on a Code of Conduct for Computerised Reservation Systems (CRS)

The European Commission’s DG MOVE together with the Florence School of Regulation’s Transport Area are co-organising an executive seminar to exchange views on the evaluation of Regulation 80/2009 on a Code of Conduct for Computerised Reservation Systems (CRS) around five key issues including relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and EU added value. At the same time the seminar shall provide an opportunity for a first discussion on possible ways forward taking into account the broader context of the air ticket distribution market. The seminar will gather representatives from all interested stakeholder groups, such as airlines, technology companies and travel agencies.

Regulation (EC) 80/2009 on a Code of Conduct for Computerised Reservation Systems (CRS) (“the Code of Conduct”) establishes a regulatory framework for market participants in the market for CRSs. CRSs are computerised reservation networks used by travel agents (online and offline), online reservation sites, and large corporations as a single point of access for booking airlines tickets, rail tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, and other travel related items. CRSs are also used by some metasearch sites in order to obtain information about the services of airlines that participate in CRSs. The Code of Conduct applies only to air transport products as well as to rail transport services distributed in a CRS which is also distributing air transport tickets.

The Code of Conduct was first established in 1989 with the adoption of Regulation 2299/89. At that time, the vast majority of airline bookings were made through CRSs, which in turn were owned and controlled by airlines. The Code of Conduct was revised in 2009 with the adoption of the current Code of Conduct in order to respond to changing market conditions.

On 7 December 2015 the Commission adopted an Aviation Strategy which aimed at strengthening the competitiveness and sustainability of the entire EU air transport value network. The Aviation Strategy highlighted that the EU rules governing airline ticket distribution in the Code of Conduct might no longer reflect entirely market reality. The Aviation Strategy therefore provided for an evaluation of the Code of Conduct in order to assess whether the Regulation is still fit for purpose.

The evaluation of the Code of Conduct

The Commission started its evaluation of the Code of Conduct with the publication of a roadmap on 5 October 2017. An external study commissioned to support the evaluation was launched in March 2018.

The Commission intends to publish an evaluation staff working document containing its conclusions on the evaluation in autumn 2019. The staff working document will draw on the external study but also on the Commission’s experience on the application of the Code of Conduct as well as on input provided by stakeholders at different occasions.

The evaluation is a backward looking exercise to assess if, and to what extent, the Code of Conduct has been effective in achieving its objectives. It will also have to assess to what extent the initial objectives address all of the issues that may be relevant today in view of market and regulatory developments. The evaluation will be structured around the following issues with respect to the Code of Conduct: its relevance, effectiveness, efficiency (cost benefit relationship), coherence (in particular with other EU initiatives) and EU value added.

The Code of Conduct adopted in 2009 had as general objectives the promotion of competition and the protection of consumer’s interest which were reflected in the following specific objectives:

  • ensure a level playing field for all participating carriers as to the access to and the use of CRS services;
  • prevent distortion of competition between CRSs by parent carriers and ensure fair and effective competition between airlines;
  • ensure equal treatment of participating carriers in the MIDT market and prevent abuse of MIDT data;
  • increase transparency of travel options;
  • promote rail transport and inter-modal transport;
  • consistent application of data protection rules across the EU.

Download final seminar programme here.

For more information, please contact FSR.Transport@eui.eu.

Badia Fiesolana – Teatro
Via dei Roccettini, 9
San Domenico di Fiesole, FL 50014 Italy

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