A long-running battle in Europe over the use of travel agencies’ passenger data has flared up again after IATA sent letters to agencies asking them if they wish to opt out of its controversial Paxis product.
Paxis – or Passenger Intelligence Services – is a business intelligence tool that provides comprehensive issued-ticket information from more than 400 airlines covering 86 billing and settlement plan offices. Its purpose is to enable airlines to monitor and analyze travel agencies’ performance, among other things.
Included in the data are: agency identifier, country, region of ticket issuance, airport information and fare information.
The European Commission directed IATA to provide a means for agencies to opt out of Paxis if they do not wish to have their data exposed to third parties.
In its letter IATA said, “We believe that your identification in Paxis provides your agency with visibility and recognition in front of your most important airline partners and has helped promote your business to those partners.”
IATA sent the letter in mid-March. If agencies do not respond by the end of April, the letter said, IATA will assume the agency consents to the inclusion of its data through July 2013.
U.K. agency group objects
But the Guild of Travel Management Companies in the U.K. objected to that assumption, saying that some of its members said they had not seen the letter.
The GTMC also warned its members that a new product called Direct Data Service that is expected to replace Paxis in about a year will glean an even broader set of data. Failure to opt out of Paxis will also constitute a failure to opt out of DDS.
Working with ARC
IATA has been working with ARC on the development of DDS, which IATA said “will provide a high-quality data solution which allows airlines to maintain control over their passenger data on a shared basis. This powerful commercial intelligence service will be managed by IATA jointly with the Airline Reporting Corporation.”
Troubles in 2009
Paxis came under fire in 2009, when 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.
Code of Conduct violation?
Last November, the European Commission found that Paxis was in violation of the CRS Code of Conduct for including agencies’ unmasked data without their consent.
IATA has maintained that it is not governed by the Code of Conduct.