IATA challenged to say it will comply
The European Commission has confirmed that the clause on data protection in the new CRS Code of Conduct applies to airlines.
In a reply to a question from Brian Simpson, Labour MEP for north west England, the EC said the relevant 7.3 article in the Code does cover airlines.
The EC said that the clause is "very clear on the protection of business data."
It added: "It provides that any marketing, booking and sales data resulting from the use of distribution facilities of a CRS by a travel agent...shall include no identification either directly or indirectly of the travel agent."
Information can only be released if the CRS and agent agree to it.
The EC added in its reply to Mr Simpson's request for clarification that the "protection of business data was a fundamental point of the Code of Conduct. "
The Commission said it was now in "close contact" with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), CRSs and agents.
It said: "At this stage, the Commission is not aware that IATA will refuse to mask the identity of individual agencies."
There have been fears that IATA would release such information to member airlines under its Passenger Intelligence Services (PaxIS) product.
Mr Simpson in his questions to the EC specifically asked whether IATA had refused to confirm that it would not reveal travel agent identities.
Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition (BTC), has also called on IATA to clarify its position.
He asked: "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?"
IATA has always said that it will abide by legal obligations but has also said that it regards privacy as a concept that applies to individuals and not to commercial units.
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