Implementation of Lufthansa’s surcharge

Ben Hunt

Group Communications Director, Amadeus IT Group

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With the introduction of Lufthansa's surcharge in the indirect channel tomorrow, Amadeus sent the following letter to its customers today.


Dear customer,
Over the past two months our industry has debated and challenged the motives, methodology and, in some quarters, even the legality of the indirect channel surcharge that the Lufthansa Group (LHG) announcedit would introduce tomorrow, September 1st.

The concerns that have been raised are valid, and are yet to be answered to the satisfaction of many stakeholders, including agencies: that the surcharge will reduce clarity, transparency and choice for the traveller while at the same time adding cost for them; that it will introduce complexity and cost for agencies.

The only thing that is clear at this point – unless there is a very late change of heart from LHG – is that the surcharge will be introduced tomorrow and will be activated within the Amadeus system in the “YR” field in the GDS. In practice, for agents and consumers the total price of LHG’s flights through the GDS will be automatically increased at the point of search and booking in the Amadeus system.

Since the announcement of the surcharge, our positionhas not changed. We believe that the interests of everyone in the travel industry from the traveller to the agents to service providers is best served by adhering to the core values of comparison, transparency and neutrality – and the consumer’s freedom to book through the channel of their choice without penalty.

Lufthansa’s surcharge undermines those core values and as a result we don’t think it is a good thing for the traveller, for corporations and for agencies. It remains to be seen whether it is good for the Lufthansa Group of airlines, depending on how the industry reacts.

Irrespective of LHG’s move, we will continue to serve the industry delivering the transparency, choice and comparison that has allowed it to thrive. We continue to believe that the GDS serves all these interests efficiently and, despite claims made to the contrary in support of this surcharge, cost effectively. It has been at the forefront of technology advances. Amadeus has been XML-enabled since 2007, and we were the first to implement NDC XML in production. Our merchandising tools have been in use since 2010, allowing providers to deliver the differentiated and personalised offerings airlines are demanding, a service many airlines are already profiting from. Just last month we introduced in the Amadeus GDS fare families across the Lufthansa Group, adding to the ancillary services merchandising capabilities LHG has enjoyed since 2013.

We will continue to develop the GDS to the benefit of travellers, agencies, corporations and travel providers with technology and initiatives that support the core values of the industry and the freedom of choice.

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