The juries are still out over whether airlines and the global distribution systems will kiss and make up soon. Corporate travel agencies will be hoping it won't be much longer though, otherwise some may face the prospect of having to explain higher airfares to their clients.
Two of Europe’s biggest airline groups still don’t see eye to eye with global distribution systems it seems.
Lufthansa and Air-France KLM are continuing to debate their relationships with Sabre and Amadeus, respectively.
On June 30, Sabre was due to end its distribution deal with Lufthansa Group, which also includes Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines.
The end of the deal could cause confusion over whether corporate customers will be able to cancel, refund, and change their existing bookings after any termination.
This passing of the deadline follows communication sent by Lufthansa — which has only just secured a $10 billion bailout — to its travel partners last week, where it said business continuity would be ensured beyond June 30 while negotiations continue.
“The offer of the Lufthansa Group network airlines will remain accessible in Sabre until further notice, including servicing options for existing bookings,” the airline said.
Meanwhile, Air France-KLM’s own private channel agreement with Amadeus expired on Wednesday.
This agreement allows corporate travel agencies that have a private channel deal with Air France-KLM to access content through Amadeus without an additional surcharge of a reported $13.50 per ticket.
An Amadeus spokesperson told Skift that it would not comment on the Air France-KLM situation while negotiations are still underway.
However, sources tell Skift that Amadeus has extended the private channel arrangement with Air France-KLM while discussions continue. This means travel agencies with the private channel in place will not have to pay the surcharge imposed by the airline.
One European director of a travel management company told Skift that they believed a renewal had been agreed upon, while there are also reports an extension has been granted until July 10.
Amadeus’ Air France-KLM private channel deal is intended to be a temporary measure until the airline group makes more so-called new distribution content available through the Amadeus Travel Platform, and has been in place since 2018.
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Photo credit: Air France-KLM struck a private channel agreement with Amadeus in 2018. Airbus SAS