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Distribution networks - CRS

Computerised Reservation Systems (CRSs) act as technical intermediaries between the airlines and the travel agents. The CRSs provide their subscribers with instantaneous information about the availability of air transport services and the fares for such services. They permit travel agents, whether brick-and-mortar or on-line, to make immediate confirmed reservations on behalf of the consumer.

As these distribution channels might influence the consumer choice, a 1989 Regulation (No 2299/89), last amended in 1999, ensures that air services by all airlines are displayed in a non-discriminatory way on the travel agencies' computer screens.

The Code of Conduct for CRS was designed in 1989 along with Regulation 2299/89.

Since then, CRS technology and economics have changed a lot: thanks to the development of alternative distribution channels, such as the airlines' Internet websites or their call centres, consumers have nowadays access to a multiplicity of information and booking channels for air transport services. About 40% of all airline tickets in the EU are booked via alternative channels and about 60% via travel agents and CRSs.

To take account of the different market context, the Euopean Commission proposed a revision of the Code of Conduct for computerised reservation systems.