June 25, 2018

GDSs vow to offer ‘any’ air fares


Global distribution systems are rushing to re-integrate airfares into displays for agents as leading carriers look to bypass the systems.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways parent IAG, spelled out the intention to restrict fares through GDSs to those that “require an intermediary” when he spoke at the UK’s Guild of Travel Management Companies’ (GTMC) conference in Ireland last week.

Walsh told corporate travel leaders: “We can’t afford to make all our fares available through the GDS. It’s too expensive. It’s not justifiable. It doesn’t make sense. We’ll provide relevant fares through the GDS, [but] we’re not going to make all fares available. [IAG carrier] Aer Lingus uses the GDS only where it adds value. About 80% of Aer Lingus sales go through the direct channel.”

Scottish Passenger Agents Association president Ken McLeod said: “That is the problem. We have to find a way to integrate these fares available outside the GDS.” He warned: “[Distribution] is going to become more difficult and the channels more complex.”

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