April 1 - Will IATA Comply With Data Privacy Obligations Under New EU CRS Code of Conduct?

Prominent MEP Demands Answers

BTC Calls On IATA to Come Clean

Brussels, Belgium, 1 April 2009 – Business Travel Coalition (BTC) today called on International Air Transport Association (IATA) to finally make clear its intentions regarding compliance with data privacy obligations under the new European Union’s Computerised Reservation System (CRS) Code of Conduct that went into effect on 29 March. Article 7.3 of the new Code mandates that the identity of travel agencies be masked in market intelligence products offered to airlines except in the case of travel agencies who have consented to the disclosure. Importantly, Article 11.5 of the new Code prohibits in all cases including in such market intelligence products any information that would identify the corporate purchaser of air travel. In the face of IATA’s refusal to confirm that it will comply with these two mandates, there is a gathering storm of outrage across Europe regarding IATA’s seeming indifference to the law and travel industry concerns.

Now prominent MEP Brian Simpson, who was deeply involved with revising the Code, has weighed in transmitting probing questions to DG TREN:

1. Can the Commission confirm that IATA believes that airlines are not covered by Article 7.3 of the above legislation relating to the disclosure of travel agent identity in all marketing, booking and sales data products?

2. Further can they confirm that IATA has informed the Commission that it will refuse to mask the identity of individual travel agencies in those products even if IATA does not have the agencies specific consent to have their identity revealed in IATA's data products (called by IATA Passenger Intelligence Services [PaxIS] )?

3. Thirdly will the Commission confirm that only agreements in regards to the rights of anonymity protected by Article 7.3 made after March 29th 2009 will be valid and what does the Commission intend to do to ensure IATA conforms to the law?

BTC calls on IATA to shortcut this process and simply answer the questions: “Will IATA mask all corporate identities in PaxIS, yes or no?  Will IATA mask all travel agency identities in PaxIS except for travel agencies who have expressly consented to have their identity disclosed, yes or no?”

BTC chairman Kevin Mitchell stated, “There is more at risk than a ten-percent fine of IATA’s annual revenue for violation of EC regulations. In contravening the intentions of the European Parliament, IATA places at risk airlines’ growing wish list in Brussels such as relief from airport use-it-or-lose-it slot rules. The powers of EU Parliamentarians cannot be underestimated; they are elected by Europeans and act as the vigilant guardians of the welfare of all citizens of Europe rather than just special interests.

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