A study on codesharing for the European Commission recommends ending the practice on nonstop routes and reducing the number of CRS listings for codeshare flights to one.

These are two of the main findings of a study by Amsterdam-based consultants Strategem. Their report finds that codesharing by two carriers on nonstop services between hub airports dominated by the two airlines involved is reducing competition. This is especially true on intra-EU routes, although the study could only identify one alliance, Austrian Airlines-Swissair, where the Commission had taken no action. One route, Zürich-Vienna, accounts for 50 per cent of total O&D traffic in the Swiss-Austrian market. But the study excludes franchising and block seat arrangements from the ban.

The other main finding of the report will reawaken the debate over screen padding on CRS displays. The European CRS code of conduct, which capped the number of times a codeshare flight could be displayed at two, was designed to prevent one flight cluttering up the first screen.

But Strategem has found that in practice 'the lack of control in CRSs to implement double listing only' is still causing screen padding; 'especially the one stop and two stop flight options can be turned into virtual monopoly positions,' the report adds.

But the Commission may find its hands tied if it tries to take any action. One senior official suggests that trying to impose the single CRS entry limit would send airlines scrambling to pressure their respective governments to oppose the change. Banning intra-European codesharing could prove equally unpopular.


Source: Airline Business