The Business Travel Coalition has urged the
European Parliament to continue to defend the interests of travellers and small
business.EU member states are pushing hard for an early compromise deal on the
revision of the CRS Code of Conduct, currently before the EU institutions. There is
now a real threat that the Parliament will abandon its previously firm position
safeguarding consumer interests.
The compromise focuses on a dangerous legislative loophole exposed in the
Commission’s original draft under the definition of ‘Parent Carrier’ (Article 2
(g)). The Parliament text, backed almost unanimously by the Transport Committee, had
established CRS ownership as a fully independent criterion when assessing parent
carrier status. This takes into account the incentives for abuse which exist for
airlines meaningfully participating in the capital and governance of a CRS and
limits the discretion of the Commission.
Any weakening of the parliament position could immediately result in the
reinforcement and creation of dangerous monopolies in CRSs in a number of European
countries. Since the Commission’s declaration of last November, which made it clear
that the CRS Code of Conduct applies to no-one, airline owners have been free to
discriminate in favour of the CRSs they own and CRSs have been free to discriminate
in favour of their owning airlines. Travellers all across the EU and beyond are, as
a result, at risk of being subjected to higher fares, less choice and poorer
The Parliament has a strong hand going into the current negotiations. Giving up this
position without securing any safeguards in return will result in a poor deal for
consumers and small business across Europe.