IAG to Introduce GDS Booking Fees at British Airways, Iberia
International Airlines Group carriers British Airways and Iberia will introduce a fee for travel agents using third-party global distribution systems from November. A fee of £8 per booking will be charged from November 1st.
The move follows the lead of German flag-carrier Lufthansa, which introduced a charge of €16 in late 2015.
IAG partners were told earlier the fee was due to the higher cost of bookings through global distribution systems when compared with booking made online or via calls centres.
The airline group also confirmed it has been working on developing a New Distribution Capability with airline association IATA.
“This technology brings customers, agents and airlines benefits in merchandising flexibility and richer content,” IAG told agents.
“We will continue to work with the GDS providers to distribute our content to our valued agency partners; however, these systems and their traditional technology solutions currently carry significantly greater costs to British Airways and Iberia.
Commenting on the new charge, Paul Wait, chief executive of GTMC, said: “It is disappointing to see British Airways and Iberia follow a small set of other carriers who choose to transfer the cost to the customer of booking via a GDS, a channel to market which to date is by far its most reliable and valuable.
“While making the claim that the GDS is more expensive we would like to see robust evidence from British Airways to prove that point when all factors such as technology development and marketing costs, revenue and average ticket price are taken into consideration.
“These customer surcharges could be thought of in a number of ways. Either as an attempt to force the customer to change the way it does business, or a blunt increase in the customers’ budget.”