Airlines seek EC inquiry into Galileo

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The Independent Online
Five British airlines have asked the European Commission to investigate the relationship between British Airways and the Galileo computer reservation system, writes David Bowen.

Air UK, British Midland, Jersey European Airways, Loganair and Manx Airlines claim that Galileo, which is used for more than half the reservations in Britain, is charging them too much. They want to know whether BA receives an unfair advantage from its control of the system in the UK.

Galileo, based in Chicago, is 23.6 per cent owned by BA but its British national distribution company is wholly controlled by the airline.

It has been so successful at marketing itself to travel agents that other airlines pay booking fees to it.

British Midland said that in 1988 it paid pounds 80,000 to computer reservation systems; it now pays pounds 6m, the bulk of which goes to Galileo.

A BA spokesman said Galileo fees were set in the US, and that it could not control them.