FRANKFURT — The airlines of the Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Swiss International Air Lines) will begin charging a 16-euro fee to every GDS booking, effective Sept. 1, a move criticized by both Amadeus, Travelport and ACTA.
Travel agents can avoid the fee by booking at Lufthansa’s agent booking portal.
Jens Bischof, chief commercial officer of Lufthansa, cited the high cost of GDS bookings and “limited functionality”.
“The Lufthansa Group’s airlines are in the process of developing a new booking method to enable sales partners to connect to their IT systems directly based on the new IATA data standard NDC (New Distribution Capability). The first NDC pilot project is currently being tested at Swiss and should begin at Lufthansa during the course of this year.”
Amadeus said the Lufthansa Group move will penalize travellers based on the shopping channel they use. Travellers will either pay more for the same service or, in the case that travel agencies are forced to accept this new commercial strategy by modifying the way they access content just for LHG, there will be extra IT costs that may ultimately be passed on to the traveller, putting the travel agent, and/or the end consumer, at a disadvantage.
“Also, this new model will make comparison and transparency more difficult because travellers will now be forced to go to multiple channels to search for the best fares. Ultimately, the industry overall stands to lose from this distribution model.”
Likewise Travelport said “We believe this proposed surcharge is not in the interests of either the end traveler or the airline group”.
ACTA said it has contacted Hans DeHaan in Lufthansa’s Canadian office to confirm the details and the future impact on Canadian distribution.
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