The chief executive of travel management firm Clarity has criticised Lufthansa for a lack of engagement with the industry on the proposed €16 GDS fee for non-direct channel bookings.
Pat McDonagh (pictured) told BBT he was “surprised” by the move and “sceptical” as to whether or not it would succeed.
It follows the announcement this week from Lufthansa Group that a ‘Distribution Cost Charge’ (DCC) will be applicable to all bookings on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Swiss not made through one of the company’s own channels such as Lufthansa.com.
“It smacks of the kind of calculation an accountant somewhere has made, looking only at part of the commercial equation,” said McDonagh.
“Third party distribution takes an incredible amount of strain away from the airline in the form customer acquisition, which is particularly important in the SME sector, managing amendments and cancellations and of course, offline booking support.
“TMC businesses are built around GDSs and our systems and processes support that, automating wherever possible, to ensure we provide a cost-effective service.
“If Lufthansa had engaged and consulted with the trade earlier, there could have been some discussion around how we adapt to such a change, interfacing our systems with their website,” he said.
The CEO of Clarity, which was named in BBT’s Top 50 TMCs for 2015, said he expects other TMCs to respond “unfavourably” to the decision but added that in an industry that is constantly affected by change “the strongest will adapt and thrive”.
Read the full interview with Pat McDonagh on BBT online tomorrow.
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