While GDS new entrants (GNEs) have been a growing presence in America, they had not really crossed the Atlantic to make any impact in Europe.
That looks set to change with the signing of an agreement between the Star Alliance and two of the leading GNEs, G2 Switchworks and ITA Software.
It was always likely that the GNEs would arrive here, despite what sometimes seemed liked a co-ordinated campaign by the legacy GDSs to portray them as not up to the task of full distribution of airline content.
They dubbed them Limited Travel Distributors (LTDs) and professed themselves unworried by their advance in America. When Star announced in June it was approaching the GNEs, some of the legacy GDSs were still convinced it was all a bluff by the Alliance to force down prices.
What seems to have motivated Star's 16 airlines was both the price and the new technology.
The decision was made to approach the GNEs within weeks of G2 signing a deal with seven US airlines to provide low cost content.
Among the seven were United and US Airways, both members of Star. By the time of Star's ceos met in Japan in June, the GNEs already had their foot in the door.
The deal that United and US Airways signed with G2 was to make their inventory available through G2's TRUEconnect network whose prices were more than 80% cheaper than GDS fees.
When Star's decision was announced last Saturday at its ceos' meeting in Montreal, Horst Findeisen, the Alliance's vp commercial, said that the average cost of GDS booking fee was $12 and that Alliance members paid out $2bn a year to GDSs.
GDS fees keep rising but airline revenues do not, Mr Findeisen said. On top of that, a "considerable share" of the GDS fee was passed onto agents, the very people to whom airlines were ending commission payments.
Aviation consultant Andrew Solum, director of Travel Industry Associates, offered a further breakdown of the GDS fees. "I have heard a figure mentioned that a legacy GDS fee per ticket is something like £7.50, of which £2.25 or so is pure profit for the GDS companies.
"More monies are given back to TMCs in the form of incentive payments, whilst the overall transaction cost to the legacy GDS is just under £3.00.
"I noted that ITA has announced its prices to be in the £0.60 to £1.15 per booking range - lots cheaper than £7.50!
"Of course this will affect the TMCs as they will not have their incentive payments, but the overall cost of distributing the ticket should be lower, hopefully negating any fee differentials," he said.
Mr Findeisen also pointed out the often overwhelming position of some of the legacy GDSs in parts of the world. Amadeus has 49% of the market in EMEA and 38% in Central and South America. Sabre has 42% in the USA/Canada and 50% in Central and South America.
But there is also the belief that the GNEs offer a more advanced technology than legacy GDSs. Alex Zoglin, founder and ceo of G2, claims his system is both more efficient than the legacy GDSs as well as being cheaper.
Again Andrew Solum: "New technology is leading the way that airlines do business, and companies like G2 and ITA are leading the trend towards utilising new software that is capable of doing a bit more than traditional GDSs have been able to, from a functionality aspect in particular.
"When we think how old GDS systems are, one can perhaps equate it to Concorde's 1950s technology was used into the new millennium, so too "legacy" GDS systems are based on older technology function in our new millennium.
"Airlines are employing new pricing and deal models, inspired by fast moving technology. G2 and ITA are working with carriers to support these deals, something I believe the legacy GDS companies have been slower to respond to."
It sounds like a very old story. Companies in positions of near monopolistic power believing they are safe from newcomers and therefore slow or unwilling to change.
The legacy GDSs were, perhaps understandably, unwilling to pronounce on the arrival of GNEs at the European table.
Amadeus possibly spoke for them when it spokeswoman said a comment would be "premature."
Just how much the GNEs arrival overturns the current European model depends largely on the reaction of the legacy GDSs.
The battle has probably only just begun.