Air France KLM confirmed that it will impose an unspecified distribution surcharge on GDS sales from April 1.

The surcharge will not apply to travel agency sales via Iata’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) connection and to Air France and KLM direct sales channels.

The group said today: “In order to best serve customers, Air France KLM is embracing NDC, an enriched Iata messaging standard allowing the distribution of rich content and personalised offers, and investing in options for travel partners to access, book and sell it.

“At the same time, in order to adapt to market circumstances and to further improve its efficiency, Air France KLM will implement a distribution surcharge on GDS sales, effective from April 1st 2018.”

A “complete re-engineering” of the group’s Flying Blue loyalty scheme will be unveiled on Monday and is due to be launched on April 1.

The aim is to “enrich the travel experience, stimulate the loyalty towards our airlines and maximise the attractiveness”.

The disclosures came as France-KLM today reported a 39% rise summer quarter operating profits of just over €1 billion.

Passenger carryings rose by 5.1% to almost 28 million with an improved load factor up 1.7 percentage points to 89.2%.

The group reported a strong premium class long-haul performance with unit revenues up by 8.3%, while economy class was up by 3.1%.

The improvement was mainly driven by a strong recovery in Asia with unit revenue up 8.8%, and Latin America up 12.1%.

Chairman Jean-Marc Janaillac said: “The strong operating performance achieved by the group in the third quarter reflects a sustained execution on our strategic priorities, as well as a robust business environment translated into solid traffic and unit revenue trends.

“We continued to move forward notably with the expansion of our network of strategic alliances and the implementation of a new distribution model. At the same time, we relentlessly pursued our efforts to strengthen our financial structure.

“All of these accomplishments demonstrate that Air France-KLM is well on track to deliver on ‘trust together’ strategic priorities of growing revenues and improve competitiveness.”

Long-haul forward bookings for the coming four months stand above last year’s levels.

Looking forward, finance chief Frederic Gagey told the BBC: “Unit revenues in October were positive, forward bookings for November and December are ahead of last year.”

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