Knowledge Platform

Business to Business Relationships

In the context of multi-modal travel, many of the perceived ‘gaps’ and anticipated conflicts between the liability regimes set out more fully above (for example for missed connections, embarkation/disembarkation), can of course be addressed by commercial agreements between the various interested parties – who are most likely to be the different travel service providers – either in terms of entity or mode.

The extent to which travel service providers are able to reach a commercial agreement on such issues to the satisfaction of the EU from a consumer protection perspective, will ultimately dictate the level of EU regulation required to facilitate the emergence of a multi-modal transport ecosystem [20].

As the model for the multi-modal transport ecosystem develops, the need for standard form agreements to address such issues will become clearer.

A number of standard form agreements already exist in relation to air and rail. By way of example, members of the International Rail Transport Company are able to access a standard form agreement, concerning the Relationships between Transport Undertakings in respect of International Carriage.

IATA also provides a scheme for interlining between airlines as well as standard form agreements which not only govern the setting of tariffs, but also the way in which the ‘fare’ is divided as between the various carriers.

A key factor in ensuring that the multi-modal system works for industry will be a harmonised approach to the division of the fare as between the various travel service providers involved. Difficulties in this area have already been experienced when looking to break down the costs of a package into its individual components, given that by its very nature it is more usually sold for an inclusive price, rather than the sum total of the component travel services.

Further input from key industry associations will be useful in identifying the current options for fare division and the way in which business to business agreements may need to be developed in the context of a multi-modal transport ecosystem. 

[20] The EU has already experienced difficulties between airlines on the subject of liability for missed connections under proposals for a new regulation 261/2004.