Nine airline associations told the Department of Transportation (DOT) that requiring airlines serving the U.S. to distribute all their content through GDSs would result in higher fares.
In a letter dated April 19 to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood
, the groups asserted that such a mandate would result in "significant consumer overcharges."
"GDS suppliers can be up to 80% more expensive than other equally transparent distribution channels," the letter said. "The proposed DOT mandate will invariably lead to a reduction in competition and technology innovation, while increasing the price of tickets for the end-user consumer. Furthermore, we do not believe it is appropriate for DOT to interfere in contractual relationships between airlines and GDSs, particularly at the present time when there is pending litigation in this area."
The undersigned associations, which included IATA and the Association of European Airlines, said they represented "virtually all of the commercial scheduled passenger airlines that fly into or out of the United States on a daily basis."
"We recognize that DOT is committed to ensuring that airline passengers have the information they need to make informed decisions on their air travel purchases," the letter said. "Our member airlines strongly support that principle.
"However, this shared commitment to transparency cannot justify a government mandate that airlines contract with GDSs to distribute all airline content and services via that channel. Instead, airlines should continue to have the right to utilize any distribution channel they choose, as long as in doing so they meet the letter and spirit of this shared commitment to transparency." Follow Johanna Jainchill on Twitter @jjainchilltw.