Amadeus leads attack as Lufthansa imposes GDS surcharge

Amadeus leads attack as Lufthansa imposes GDS surcharge

Amadeus has led criticism of Lufthansa’s decision to add fees to global distribution system bookings, arguing costs will increase to the consumer as a result.

The concern follows news from the German airline group earlier this week that it would include a surcharge, called the Distribution Cost Charge, of €16 for every ticket issued by a booking channel using GDS from September.

However, tech giant Amadeus believes that the traveller is at the heart of the travel industry.

“Travellers today are looking for consistency, transparency and choice across all channels and we as an industry can deliver that best by connecting and integrating all players,” explained a statement from the company.

“Lufthansa have chosen to go in a different direction by introducing charges that will penalise travellers based on the shopping channel they use.

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“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.”

Amadeus also raised concerns the new model would make comparison and transparency more difficult because travellers will now be forced to go to multiple channels to search for the best fares.

Lufthansa said new charge will not be added to flight tickets purchased using own booking channels.

This predominately includes the airlines’ websites, as well as the service centre and ticket counter at the airports.

Travel agencies will also be able to book tickets without the DCC, using the online portal.

Corporate customers will be able to book their individually negotiated contract rates excluding the DCC.

Jens Bischof, chief commercial officer, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, explained: “Until now, the percentage of revenue generated from the sale of flight tickets by our airlines has continuously decreased.

“While other service and system partners in the value chain are recording increasing margins and returns, our airline’s earnings have been compromised over time, even though they are the actual providers of flight services.

“We want to counteract this trend by refocusing our commercial strategy.”

Bischof added: “At present, airlines are not yet able to market their services via all sales channels, as it is common in other industries.

“The contracts and structures have previously prevented any deregulation in many areas.

“We want to change this with our new commercial strategy and take advantage of greater degrees of freedom in our sales activities, providing our customers with the exact tailor-made services that they are looking for and wherever they are looking for them.”