An alliance of 58 travel-related companies from 10 countries has been formed to fight Lufthansa’s plan to impose a €16 fee on GDS bookings.
AirChannelChoice.travel has been formed as a broad coalition of global stakeholders to promote travel distribution system choice for travel agencies and their customers.
Backed by the US-based Business Travel Coalition, the group describes the German carrier’s plan as discriminating against the travel agency booking channel
Members include travel agencies, travel management companies, travel industry associations and consumer groups.
Lufthansa’s plans would have “negative worldwide implications for the competitive structure of the industry, travel agents and their customers,” it argues.
The charge will apply in all markets and on all Lufthansa group airlines – including Swiss, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines – from September 1.
AirChannelChoice.travel is surveying its members, gathering industry views, publishing analyses, drafting signatory letters and will be scheduling meetings with regulators in the EU and US.
Its objectives are to:
- ensure that there is a powerful, well-articulated and broadly supported public-policy position regarding the issue of distribution channel discrimination;
- encourage regulators in the EU and US to pursue timely analysis and action regarding potentially anti-competitive and anti-consumer airline policies and practices in the marketplace for travel distribution services; and
- educate legislatures and regulators on the benefits of intra channel competition in travel distribution and emerging threats and opportunities with respect to consumer choice and price transparency.
The group said: “Lufthansa Group [LHG] is attempting to substitute its judgment for the managed-travel community’s clearly articulated preferences.
“Without collaboration, LHG is forcing a choice between a highly inefficient process for travel managers and their TMCs, or paying higher fares.
“This is a bad choice. Corporate travel managers, in close collaboration with their TMCs and technology partners, have developed a professional and productive travel procurement environment that must not be poisoned.”
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