Lufthansa subsidiary Germanwings has extended its presence on global distribution systems (GDSs) following an agreement with Travelport.

The Cologne-based airline joined the growing list of low-cost carriers to appear on GDSs when it signed a deal with Amadeus at the end of January. However, like other low-cost carriers, Germanwings continues to push the availability of a direct link to its reservations system via Direct Connect for “important distribution partners”.

This echoes what American Airlines is trying to achieve in its bitter disputes with technology companies Travelport, the owner of Galileo and Worldspan, and Sabre. The US carrier has lawsuits pending against both Travelport and Sabre, with the technology giants responding in kind.

American Airlines has accused the companies of refusing to work with its version of Direct Connect, while signing deals to do so with a succession of other carriers.

There is wide expectation that major European airlines – including British Airways – will follow American’s lead if it succeeds in breaking the GDS distribution model and slashing the cost of GDS use. BA head of UK sales Richard Tams and Air Berlin UK country manager Titus Johnson have both suggested a fragmented model of distribution could soon be in place.

In a statement, Germanwings said it had acted to “strengthen its cooperation with travel agents” after “increasing ticket sales via GDS”.

The carrier said: “Many customers are making use of the opportunity via GDS to combine Lufthansa flights with Germanwings connections. . .

Corporate customers book via the GDS channels as well as via Direct Connect, or in a separate area on the Germanwings website.”