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EU: Travel agents file antitrust complaint against the airline trade association

 |  May 27, 2019

The European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association filed a complaint against the airline trade association IATA with the European competition authority for breach of articles 101 and 102 of the EU Treaty.

The commercial relationship between travel agents and airlines has evolved and has nothing to do anymore with the former agent-principal relationship. Airlines have entered into direct competition with travel agents on the distribution of air tickets while the classical commission-based remuneration schemes have been abandoned.

According to the ECTAA airlines impose very strict, unilateral and disproportionate contractual constraints on travel agents for the distribution of tickets, namely through the IATA Passenger Agency Programme (PAP). The PAP is still entirely construed around traditional agent-principal principles. The Passenger Sales Agency Agreement, which every IATA accredited agent has to sign, was drafted 40 years ago and is no longer in line with the economic reality.

“Indirect distribution of air tickets is dangerously hurt by the abuse of IATA’s dominant position while it is needed more than ever to help consumers navigate through a jungle of complex ticket offers including a growing number of ancillary services” said Pawel Niewiadomski, President of ECTAA.

ECTAA requests the Commission to start an investigation into infringements to competition rules caused by IATA’s Passenger Agency Programme and to put these infringements to an end.

Full Content: Travel Daily News

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