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.
As it approaches the fourth anniversary of its leading role among European airlines in surcharging global distribution system bookings, Lufthansa Group Thursday reported that direct-booking share, for the first time in the group's history, passed the 50 percent mark.
BCD Travel is taking the next step to evolve its mobile capabilities from itinerary management to itinerary creation. The mega travel management company announced plans soon to enable airline shopping and booking capabilities through TripSource, which covers its native mobile app and responsive Web channels.
More than three months after Air France-KLM introduced a surcharge on global distribution system bookings, Sabre and the airline group are at an impasse on reaching a private channel deal that would enable Sabre's agency subscribers selected by the airline group to book without fee.
India-based Airlines Technology is entering the U.S. market as another NDC aggregator but with a different pricing offer for TMCs.
Business travel entrant Upside last week revealed in a mobile app update that Southwest Airlines bookings "are now available for work travel." Southwest's testing with Upside is "very early days," said Dave Harvey, the carrier's managing director of business development.
Amadeus during its third-quarter results presentation Wednesday acknowledged that moves by the three largest European airline groups to surcharge global distribution system bookings and drive bookings directly to their own channels are playing a role in disintermediating the GDSs. Yet, CEO Luis Maroto said he wasn't too worried about an acceleration in disintermediation.
BCD Travel early next year plans to pilot New Distribution Capability bookings with Lufthansa Group and two undisclosed non-global distribution system aggregators.
With less than two weeks to go before Air France-KLM enacts an 11 euro per-way surcharge on global distribution system bookings, the Franco-Dutch airline group remains in discussions with GDS operators on private-channel arrangements that could shield select travel agencies from the fee.
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.