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ACTE Releases an Up-Date on the State of GDS Deregulation in Europe

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) has announced the release of a status report clarifying the proposed scenario for Global Distribution Systems (GDS) deregulation in Europe. Caption: Peter Sijbers, ACTE, EMEA Regional Chairman

This six page document is based on interviews with the major stakeholder and extensive researches. ACTE is the only association delivering high quality education to an international network of business travel buyers and suppliers across the world.

The objective of the ACTE status report paper is to provide ACTE members with the most recent information available regarding the deregulation of GDS in Europe, and to help prepare them for the potential impact of the pending rule changes.

During the past two years, ACTE has invited the various GDSs to discuss the potential results of deregulation. One key finding of the study is that despite constant concerns in the travel industry not much as changed during the last year in Europe regarding deregulation. However, corporate buyers remain worried of the impact deregulation might have. Last November an overwhelming majority of ACTE members (70 percent) said they believed their company’s travel management processes will change as a result of deregulation. When asked if GDS deregulation would be a threat for certain GDSs, 86 percent said yes.

The European Commission has postponed going forward with amendments to the current GDS code for two main reasons. Firstly, the EC thought it was prudent to gauge industry reaction to GDS deregulation in the United States. Secondly, it had to consider the future ownership of Amadeus by its three airline owners: Air France, Iberia and Lufthansa. A change at the Commission’s helm earlier this year further delayed the decision-making process… Some industry analysts say the EC is expected to proceed with changes as early as September 2005. Actual changes to the code are not expected to take effect until mid 2006.


ACTE believes members should take advantage of this time to prepare for all possible scenarios associated with a GDS deregulated environment and consider developments that will occur in the US following the expiration of current participating airline agreements with the GDSs.

The published report provides clear background information to understand the history of GDS deregulation both in Europe and in the U.S.

ACTE’s status report states the arguments of the side in favour of deregulation and explains why others recommend that the EC maintain partial deregulation.

Spotlighted in the report is how the Internet has changed the distribution environment and how alternative distribution channels are impacting existing GDSs.

G2 Switchworks and ITA, - two GDS new entrants - are discussed in the ACTE study and readers will learn why some airlines are paying close attention to them.

The ACTE status report on GDS Deregulation in Europe is available to ACTE members only on ACTE web site in the EMEA page .