On Tuesday, British Airways began testing new inventory buckets in business and economy classes on Boston and Dubai routes, some of which only are available for purchase through the airline's direct channels or New Distribution Capability-compatible connections.
British Airways and Iberia parent International Airlines Group told investors last week that 17 percent of its indirect distribution volume is flowing through application programming interfaces or New Distribution Capability-based connections. IAG director of strategy Robert Boyle said the group is well positioned to beat the target of delivering 20 percent of indirect volume by 2020 as a participant in the International Air Transport Association's Leaderboard initiative.
Most of the top 10 travel management companies in the U.K. have confirmed they've reached deals to waive British Airways' global distribution system surcharge for clients. Many of the TMCs, including the largest, described their arrangements as private-channel deals, the model facilitated by GDSs to shield customers from the airline's fee of 8 British pounds per fare component.
The International Air Transport Association released a list of 20 airlines that are part of its Leaderboard initiative for New Distribution Capability adoption.
With the clock ticking, Sabre and Travelport are nearing distribution arrangements that will help shield select travel management companies from the booking surcharge British Airways and Iberia plan to enact on Wednesday.
It has been slow going for airlines to make good on commitments to enable Concur TripLink connections for bookings made on their direct websites, but a couple are gearing up to launch.
Next month, Lufthansa Group will begin selling its "best fares" exclusively through direct channels. British Airways, too, has plans to withhold some price points for short-haul fares from the traditional agency channel. Several major U.S. airlines would like to do the same, if only they weren't bound by global distribution system contract provisions that Lufthansa, BA and other European airlines have declined.
Sister airlines British Airways and Iberia have announced a "New Distribution Capability related agreement" that exempts Hogg Robinson Group from their distribution surcharge of €9.50 per fare component set to take effect Nov. 1.
Australian flag carrier Qantas introduced a new commercial structure for travel agencies to promote adoption of New Distribution Capability-compatible connections, either through a global distribution system or another approved tech provider. Its pitch to agencies includes the threat of a $12.50 per-segment surcharge on GDS bookings and diminished content access but also a private channel-type framework as a path for agencies to avoid both.