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IATA Gamble to Flaunt EU Law Backfires

Business Travel Coalition (BTC) today applauded a major arbitration decision in a case global distribution system provider Amadeus brought before the International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration regarding the controversial Passenger Intelligence Services (PaxIS) product developed and marketed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Amadeus won resounding victories on both arbitrated claims. Today’s decision provides encouragement to travel industry participants that IATA will not be allowed to disregard EU law and should strengthen DG-TREN’s resolve to forbid IATA to disregard the newly-revised European CRS Code of Conduct.  The first successful claim related to IATA’s breach of a commercial confidentiality agreement governing the transmission of Amadeus’ billing and settlement plan (BSP) information to BSP data processing centers.  The arbitrator also ruled that IATA’s use of Amadeus BSP submissions for PaxIS violated the EU Database Directive.

According to details released publically yesterday by Amadeus, IATA was ordered to cease and desist using data transmitted by Amadeus for the purpose of developing and marketing PaxIS. IATA apparently confirmed to Amadeus that it would take all steps necessary to exclude all Amadeus-generated information from its PaxIS product, with immediate effect.

“In light of the immediate requirement for IATA to strip out Amadeus data from the PaxIS product to comply with EU law, rendering PaxIS commercially questionable, no reason remains for IATA to continue to refuse to comply with its obligations under the recently revised CRS Code of Conduct to mask the identify of travel agencies and corporate purchasers for data derived from any CRS,” said BTC chairman Kevin Mitchell. In light of this important development, airlines should see the virtue in developing and using only those data products that comply with EU rules and respect the privacy of their distribution system partners and corporate customers,” added Mitchell

The coalition calls on DG-TREN to promptly and forcefully insist on immediate IATA compliance with the CRS Code of Conduct.