European Commission opens antitrust investigation into airline ticket distribution services

    European Commission (EC) opened (23-Nov-2018) 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. Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said: “Our investigation into Amadeus and Sabre focuses on possible restrictions in competition in the market for airline ticket distribution services”. 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. [more – original PR]