Raffaele Cavani


This Essay points out the major legal issues related to the development of the Computerized Reservation Systems (“CRS”) and evaluates whether the EC approach has achieved satisfactory results, mainly from the standpoint of consumer protection. My critique is essentially that the EC has ruled the CRS by means of legislation that tends to be hyper-technical, difficult to interpret, and, at the same time, extremely vague when it comes to defining unlawful conduct and potential sanctions. This Essay argues that more in-depth regulatory reform should be undertaken by the EC, in order to enhance competition and benefit travellers. This Essay is structured in two conceptually interdependent sections. Part I focuses on a synthetic description of CRS and evaluates its potential to adversely impact a market based on free competition, specifically by violating the antitrust rules of the Treaty of Rome (“EEC Treaty”). Part II is devoted to an analysis of the most recent EC regulations in this area, with particular reference to Commission Regulation No. 83/91 of December 5, 1990. Regulation No. 83/91 gives a basic description of the CRS system within the framework of EC legislation. The minimal action undertaken thus far by the EC has been guided by two considerations. First, the area of Computerized Reservation Systems is still legally unstable and is characterized by gray areas and gaps in the rules that should be resolved by future EC legislation. Second, in the absence of a line of judicial precedents within the EC, a theoretical debate appears fruitless in light of the lack of a substantially consolidated position within the EC.