Two of Europe's major carriers, Air France and KLM, will be the latest airlines to introduce a premium on all tickets bought through a Global Distribution System.
The pair will impose the "Distribution Surcharge" from 1 April 2018 on fares secured through Travelport, Sabre, Amadeus or Travelsky, following similar moves by fellow carriers Lufthansa, British Airways and Iberia.
The Air France-KLM group revealed the new fee as part of a strategic initiative contained in its third quarter 2017 results this week, claiming:
"In order to best serve customers, Air France KLM is embracing NDC (New Distribution Capability, an enriched IATA messaging standard allowing the distribution of rich content and personalized offers), and investing in options for travel partners to access, book and sell it."
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The group will begin the switch in January 2018, when it will allow agencies, self-booking tools and other IT provider to access and sell tickets through its NDC-powered API on a new website: AgentConnect.biz.
Intermediaries will be able to book through their existing GDS interfaces but will face a €11 charge for each one-way ticket from 1 April 2018.
The group says says the increase "will cover the cost difference between the GDS model and the corresponding costs of Air France-KLM direct sales".
Exemptions from the charge, alongside those tickets being sold via the NDC connection, will made for fares distributed on the two carrier's respective websites, call centers, airport sales and city ticket offices.
Amadeus strongly believes that indirect distribution remains the most cost‐efficient solution for all parties on a global scale
Commercial and distribution costs across the group were up by 2.6% to €233 million in the third quarter of 2017 and up by 1.6% to €701 million for the year so far.
The move is being touted as a mechanism to "adapt to market circumstances and to further improve its efficiency".
Many will see the development as another milestone in the gradual squeezing of the so-called traditional airline distribution model - it's the third major group (all European so far) to impose a surcharge on GDS bookings.
The Lufthansa Group was first out of the blocks in the summer of 2015 with its own levy but it was another two years before a fellow carrier followed suit, in the shape of International Airlines Group (the umbrella brand covering British Airways and Iberia).
IAG's surcharge came into force this month.
Amadeus, in response to the Air France-KLM announcement, says punishing a specific channel with a surcharge "is never in the best interest of travellers".
Indirect distribution remains the most cost-efficient solution for all parties on a global scale, it adds.
The Spain-based technology giant says it is committed to and has started investing in NDC., We will engage with AF/KLM to find a sustainable, long-term agreement that suits all players across the travel industry.
An official says:
"Our vision is to develop an integrated solution that can be widely adopted by both travel agencies and airlines to deliver sustainable results on a scale that matters.
"The objective is to make sure that NDC delivers additional value for travellers, with adoption in the marketplace through minimal disruption, whilst meeting the business objectives of all parties across the industry."
* The GDSs in question have been contacted for comment on the story.