The move by British Airways to begin imposing a surcharge on GDS bookings was a hot topic at last month’s Travelport Live conference in Sydney. One of the most colourful descriptions of the situation came from Simon McKearney, GM of Helloworld in New Zealand who described it as having the potential to erupt in a gang war. “Currently it’s more like a drive-by shooting,” he said, with BA parent IAG set to launch the levy in November this year.

AFTA CEO Jayson Westbury also slammed the BA plan as pitting the carrier against the global travel agency community. “I think someone has jumped the gun,” he said, with options to avoid the surcharge including a yet-to-be launched direct portal or software development linking to an API which also has not been released at this stage. Travelport’s senior VP of agency commerce, Jason Clarke, told delegates Lufthansa had been impacted by fallout from its own GDS fee introduced in 2015. “What we’ve seen from our customers is a certain level of cross-selling to alternate airlines that run competitive routes,” he said.

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