An International Chamber of Commerce arbitration tribunal ordered IATA to cease using any ticketing information transmitted by Amadeus in its PaxIS product.
The tribunal found that IATA's use of the data breached its contractual agreements with Amadeus and infringed on Amadeus' rights under the European Union Database Directive.
The directive states that the holder of database rights may prohibit the extraction and/or re-utilization of the whole or of a substantial part of the database contents.
PaxIS, or Passenger Intelligence Services, is an airline passenger market intelligence database developed by the IATA Business Intelligence Service to enable airlines to monitor and analyze travel agencies' performance, among other things. According to Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition, PaxIS shows a subscribing airline the average price of tickets sold by class of service on specific routes on airline competitors by specific travel agencies. The recently revised E.U. CRS Code of Conduct requires that the identities of travel agencies and corporate clients must be masked in booking data sold by GDSs.
Last month, the European Commission's transport directorate confirmed that IATA was subject to the new rules. IATA, however, continued to maintain that the PaxIS product was in compliance with the amended code of conduct.
The ICC Tribunal ordered IATA not to use Amadeus' data for the purpose of developing, marketing and selling PaxIS, or any other similar reports, or for any purpose, except for the orderly operation of the billing and settlement plans.
"This decision fully supports the position that Amadeus has consistently taken, that the conduct of IATA, in using Amadeus' ticketing information in its PaxIS product, infringes Amadeus' rights," Amadeus said in a statement. "Amadeus continues to cooperate with IATA in several areas of benefit to the industry."
IATA said it will comply with the decision.
"We are currently reviewing this decision to evaluate its actual scope and impact and to determine the next steps to be taken," it said. But the decision leaves the future of the PaxIS product in doubt. Amadeus leads in worldwide GDS market share, and Sabre has a similar action against IATA pending in Canada. Mitchell said stripping out Amadeus data leaves PaxIS "commercially questionable."
Mitchell, who lobbied vigorously in favor of forcing IATA to comply with the amended Code of Conduct, said, "In light of this important development, airlines should see the virtue in developing and using only those data products that comply with E.U. rules and respect the privacy of their distribution system partners and corporate customers."