Lufthansa’s recent attempt to drive customers to a direct channel through a GDS access charge should come as no surprise, according to Greeley Koch, Executive Director for theAssociation of Corporate Travel Executives, though it opens the door for a varied industry response.“The airlines have been speaking about the high costs of distribution for years. Lufthansa’s announcement on Monday should come as no surprise to anyone,” said Koch. “This was a calculated financial decision made by Lufthansa. The question is whether they have calculated correctly and if other carriers will follow suit. ‘
“Airlines change their business models to make money. No one appears to like Lufthansa’s changes. The carrier is not denying anyone an existing option. The marketplace will just have to pay an additional €16 to book outside a direct channel. The initial reaction by the marketplace was predictable,” said Koch. “But the next few weeks will either demonstrate acceptance or a move by customers to other carriers that don’t charge that fee. That’s an option too.”
ACTE will serve as an industry conduit for feedback from ACTE members — travel managers, travel management companies, Global Distribution Systems, and others — in framing an overall assessment of the situation. “I am asking our global membership to send us their analysis of how this strategy will impact them. This information should be useful to Lufthansa and others,” said Koch.