[UPDATE, March 30, 2018: As expected, Travelport and Air France KLM reached a new “private channel” deal. So did Amadeus. As a result, users of the Amadeus and Travelport global distribution systems can enter into deals with the airline group to avoid the distribution surcharge Air France KLM plans to apply, effective April 1. According to statements attributed to Air France KLM vice president of distribution Emmanuelle Gailland, both Amadeus and Travelport will work with the airline group to transition to IATA’s New Distribution Capability.]
Air France-KLM and Travelport are working on an agreement to provide travel agency users with a “private channel,” a spokesperson for the airline group confirmed. European media outlets reported on the forthcoming deal last week.
An article in Dutch language Zaken Reis, for example, noted that bookings through Travelport agents would not incur the Air France-KLM distribution surcharge set to take effect April 1. The publication quoted Harm Kreulen, an Air France-KLM Benelux executive, as saying that talks also were underway with Amadeus and Sabre. According to a translation of the article, Kreulen said Air France-KLM would not delay implementation of the surcharge because the airline group’s GDS full-content agreements expire on April 1.
“We are very close” to a deal with Travelport, the Air France-KLM spokesperson wrote by email. “It is too early to disclose detailed information.” A Travelport spokesperson said the company had no comment.
British Airways also offers a private channel option for agencies to avoid its distribution surcharge. In such an arrangement, agencies forego incentives paid by GDS operators in exchange for a likely smaller incentive paid by the airline and, presumably, access to a wider array of content.
• Travelport Expects ‘Large Majority’ Of Its BA/Iberia Bookings To Use ‘Private Channel’
• Small, Midsize U.K. Travel Management Companies Reckon With British Airways Surcharge
• GDS Private Channel Concerns, Challenges U.S. Travel Management Companies