Amadeus, Travelport Finalize Private Channel Deals With Air France-KLM

Amadeus and Travelport this week confirmed they have individually reached private-channel agreements with Air France-KLM.

That clears the way for select travel agencies, handpicked by the airline group, to book through those global distribution systems without incurring the 11 euro per-way GDS surcharge that takes effect April 1.

Those deals with Air France-KLM also set the course for migration to distribution that aligns with the International Air Transport Association's New Distribution Capability standard.

Amadeus called the private channel "a transitional agreement towards the integration by Amadeus of Air France-KLM's API based on the IATA New Distribution Capability."

The airline group this week declined to address which agencies it would invite to participate in such arrangements. BCD Travel, however, confirmed it is among the participants.

As of last week, each of the three major GDS operators__Sabre, along with Amadeus and Travelport__were advancing private-channel negotiations with Air France-KLM. Sabre on Friday commented: "We are aware of the importance in reaching a timely agreement with Air France-KLM and are working to define terms that will work for all parties. We continue to reassure our agency customers that reaching an agreement with the airline group is a top priority."

Sabre also noted that it intends "to work closely with Air France-KLM to develop new technology around industry standards such as NDC."

International Airlines Group carriers last year popularized the private-channel model, as British Airways and Iberia reached dozens of bilateral arrangements, facilitated by GDSs, with select travel agencies.