Sabre’s response to the European Commission’s intention to investigate the airline distribution market in the EU:
The Sabre GDS is a robust, global two-sided marketplace that powers the business of travel. As such, we are committed to solutions that balance the needs of airlines and other travel providers with travel agencies, online travel agencies and corporations.
Sabre believes full content, or parity clauses, are in the best interest of consumers and serve to provide them with comparability and transparency, enabling consumers to easily and efficiently shop and book the best flights that meet their needs. We also recognize that the airline industry is a highly competitive marketplace and many airlines today are looking for ways to differentiate themselves and create brand loyalty.
Our travel agency agreements, in turn, enable travel agencies to have very cost-efficient access to our superior technology and thus enable those travel agencies to best serve the needs of consumers.
Sabre remains committed to offering competitive access for travel agencies to airline content in the Sabre system and delivering solutions that balance value for airlines, agencies, corporations and travelers. The company’s recently-announced strategic initiatives, including its new Travel Solutions business unit, as well as its investment in new distribution capability, demonstrate its commitment to drive innovation in airline retailing, distribution and fulfillment and accelerate the development of next-generation technology solutions for the benefit of airlines, travel agents and travelers.
While the vast majority of the world’s carriers recognize the value of full content agreements for them and for their customers, and choose to participate in the Sabre GDS at this level, airlines are able to participate in full content or less than full content agreements based upon their unique strategies and approaches to the marketplace.
Sabre will continue to work closely with our airline and travel agency customers to meet their needs and in particular to help airlines merchandise their products and services through travel agencies in the way they want.
We note that the Commission has emphasized that opening up this investigation does not prejudge the outcome. We will cooperate fully with the European Commission in this process, and we welcome the opportunity to further demonstrate to the Commission that our full content agreements and travel agency contracts are pro-competitive, resulting in the world-class content, products, and functionality that travelers value and indeed demand of Sabre.