EU complaint issued against Lufthansa GDS fee

A formal complaint has been filed in Brussels against Lufthansa Group’s controversial €16 GDS fee.

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The European Technology & Travel Services Association (Ettsa), which represents global distribution services and online travel agents, is claiming a breach of key provisions of the EU’s code of conduct on computerised reservation systems.

The complaint to the European Commission covers the German airline and its associate carriers, Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines.

The complaint was filed to the Commission’s Directorate General of Mobility and Transport, which holds enforcement powers on the code of conduct.

Ettsa’s secretary general, Christoph Klenner, said: “The only way for travel agents to avoid the discriminatory surcharge is to switch from traditional GDSs to an alternative platform controlled by Lufthansa, where only such content is shown that Lufthansa chooses to show.

“However, there are rules to follow if you want to be in this business and those rules do not allow the sort of discrimination that Lufthansa is using to push its competitors out of the market. If Lufthansa wants to run a GDS, it needs to follow the rules for GDSs.

“The EU code of conduct was designed precisely to prevent abuse by airlines who control GDSs. Therefore, the European Commission has a duty to step up and intervene in the interest of continued transparency and consumer choice,” Klenner concluded.