Lufthansa Group has conceded that the introduction of its controversial surcharge on GDS-issued tickets has had an impact on overseas bookings.
In a call with financial analysts following the publication of its Q3 results for 2015, CEO and chairman of the executive board, Carsten Spohr, says the group has faced "some headwind" since the Direct Distribution Charge started in September in markets outside of Germany.
However there is "no change" in booking volumes in Lufthansa's domestic market, Spohr claims, with any shift in patterns being offset by an increase in direct bookings.
Spohr would not disclose any figures, adding that the carrier is "only a few weeks down the line" and has "only two weeks of clean data" since the DDC started on 1 September.
Again, booking volume patterns were impacted by a two-day strike in the first of September, Spohr says.
Chief financial officer Simone Menne says any impact emanating from the introduction of DDC is "broadly revenue neutral" on the bottom line of the company's financial performance.
The discussion around DDC was a small side-issue given the carrier has pleased presumably financial analysts after posting strong results for the first nine months of 2015.
Lufthansa Group had revenues of Euro 24.3 billion over the period, up by 7.4% year-on-year. Traffic revenues accounted for Euro 19.4 billion of the total. Adjusted EBIT was up 71% y/y to Euro 1.7 billion.
The company says it achieved the results based on its ongoing strategy around costs, product enhancements and corporate development, as well as some good fortune with fuel prices.
Lufthansa Group, however, does not anticipate this current run will continue into full-year and 2016, citing concerns over unit revenues and pricing.
"Our third-quarter business performance is particularly good as we were able to improve a number of our key performance indicators.
"There is one cause for concern in all of this, though: if we exclude the fuel cost and currency factors, our unit costs saw a further increase in the third-quarter. And we cannot be satisfied with this trend.”
Passenger (rather than booking) volumes in September were down 1.1% to 7,535,000, with the group blaming the impact of strikes.
In September, Tnooz obtained from a third party an internal Sabre document of figures for GDS bookings for the first fortnight of that month which pointed to a significant decline in volumes with the carrier, with some of its rivals seeing off-trend upturns.
Lufthansa again said at the time that the decline in booking volumes was due to the two-day strike.