Court: DOT Has Right to Regulate GDSs

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Transportation’s efforts to maintain jurisdiction over the GDS industry received some help after a three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the department’s move, according to a Dec. 5 Travel Weekly report.

The ruling means re-regulation could lie ahead for the industry.

DOT regulation has been progressively cut back after the airline industry had relinquished much of its ownership of GDSs over the years.

However, the DOT continued to try and preserve its regulatory hold on the industry, asserting that GDS fall under the category of ticket agents as outlined in the Federal Aviation Act. Ticket agents lie under the umbrella of Transportation Department jurisdiction.

The report said that the DOT wants to step in if it discovers what it deems "unfair and deceptive practice." Specifically, this would be displaying certain screens, favoring a particular carrier without disclosing that information to the user.

The Transportation Department has said that, if necessary, it would "retain the ability to propose re-adoption of the rules against display bias."

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