American has designated the Worldspan Super Access and Galileo Content Continuity programs and the Farelogix and G2 SwitchWorks GDS products as "competitive booking sources. It said it will impose a $3.50 "source premium" for each segment booked by travel agents through any other GDS product, including Amadeus, beginning Sept. 1.
Northwest also said it will impose the fee, but it expanded the list of preferred channels to include Sabre's Efficient Access Solution, its own online portals and WorldVacations ToruSource. In addition, it exempted only Farelogix' direct connect product from the fee.
Northwest also said it may withhold content from non-preferred channels. In its complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, Amadeus noted that its PCA agreements with American and Northwest require that each airline "shall, at its own cost, coordinate its information and reservations services with Amadeus and shall take such other steps as may be required to provide all Amadeus subscribers . . . information and reservations services as advantageous as those provided to any other subscriber of any other computerized reservation and ticketing system. Such services shall include, but will not be limited to, passenger information, schedule, space availability, fares and fare information and procedures."
Amadeus said several contracts with travel agencies representing millions of annual bookings are scheduled to expire in 2007. "If Amadeus is unable to stop American and Northwest from implementing their contractually prohibited programs, Amadeus' long relationships with these agencies will also be at substantial risk of permanent loss." Those agencies likely would sign with competitors, Amadeus noted.
Northwest said it expected to be "fully vindicated" if Amadeus continues with the court proceeding.
It said that effective August 1, "Amadeus refused to extend its existing full-content agreement with Northwest, which had the effect of increasing the airline's booking fee rates by nearly 30% and subjecting Amadeus subscribers to restricted content and to GDS fees." Northwest added that "any adverse effects suffered by Amadeus subscribers as a result are entirely attributable to Amadeus, and Northwest encourages Amadeus subscribers to make clear to Amadeus their preference to have available the option of participating in a Northwest Preferred Distribution Product."
Continental Airlines also has informed travel agencies that its "preferred booking channels" are the Sabre Efficient Access Solution, Galileo Content Continuity Program, Worldspan Super Access Product, G2 SwitchWorks and Farelogix, and that segments booked through all other channels will incur a $3.50 fee. However, in the case of Amadeus, Continental said the fee will not go into effect until Oct. 1.
Amadeus told the court that it also has initiated proceedings before the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, which has jurisdiction over PCA agreements.