In a move that it believes will insure competition and protect consumers, GDS giant Amadeus reports that it is supporting online giant Expedia in its decision to file a complaint against Google with the European Commission. Amadeus said its decision is in the long-term best interests of the travel industry and in particular online travel agencies.
“Amadeus does not view Google as a direct competitor to its travel distribution business - while Google leads in search, the Amadeus distribution business is focused on providing services and booking capabilities to providers of travel services and travel agents," Amadeus said in a statement.
"For decades, travel agents have added value as intermediaries by providing consistent, high-quality and reliable services that allow travelers to find the best value and most appropriate travel solutions from the widest possible range of travel providers," Amadeus said.
“It is critical to ensure that Google Flight Search does not mislead consumers into believing that Google offers comprehensive and neutral results, whereas in fact they may be biased, favoring Google’s own services even if they are of a lower quality and an even higher price than other services offered by independent travel distributors. It also leads to consumers potentially missing out on the best price available in the market and limits fair competition between airlines.”
At stake is Google’s alleged dominance of the online search landscape to the potential detriment of consumers. This prompted the European Technology & Travel Services Association (ETTSA) to throw its support behind a complaint filed with the European Commission by its member Expedia.
The complaint addresses the risks to transparency, choice and fair competition posed by Google.
The European Commission opened an investigation in 2010 asking if Google was abusing its dominant market position by favoring its own vertical search services and lowering the ranking of unpaid search results of competing vertical services, ETTSA said.
"Consumers expect that Google search results are neutral, but this is not the case when the results favor Google’s own platforms, such as Flight Search. Unlike Google, other players in this arena, including the Global Distribution Systems (GDS’s), abide by strict neutrality principles enshrined in EU legislation when displaying travel search results," ETTSA said, urging the Commission to closely examine Google’s potential abuse of dominance to protect consumers.