Amadeus has formalized a change in the way it draws up airline contracts, replacing the Participating Carrier Agreement with a Global Distribution Agreement, covering core GDS services, and an Optional Services Agreement. Ian Wheeler, vice president of marketing, said the divided contract is the result of an "evolution" that began in 2008. One reason for the change, he said, is that when new services become available, it will be easier "to slot it into someone's existing contract." New optional services can be added at any time without having to wait until the current contract expires. Wheeler said optional services could include ancillary products or airline credit card fees, for example.

The many addenda that the new services required were making the PCA a "cumbersome document," he said. About 44 airlines have signed the GDA, and most have also signed up for at least some options in the OSA as well. Amadeus will begin rolling out new options this year and in 2011, Wheeler said. Four airlines are scheduled to pilot the use of a "catalogue" of optional services this year, and another 10 airlines are "heavily engaged in going next," he said. The catalogue includes all the items that airlines have "unbundled" from their fares, such as baggage fees, and new "upsell" services such as lounge access and, for some airlines, advance seat selection.

"The airline can add anything in that catalogue" to its OSA, Wheeler said. It also can be creative about additional services.

Later this year, Amadeus will enable users of its e-Travel self-booking tool to see seat-selection options, baggage fees and similar pertinent information. "It will show up first at the point of closing," Wheeler said. "The next stage is showing it right up front. By next year, it will show up in the Amadeus fare search."

Wheeler said Amadeus' airline retailing platform, first unveiled at the company's Horizons conference in Bangkok in April 2008, serves as the umbrella brand for all the new merchandising, ancillary revenue and unbundled and rebundled fare configurations that airlines are introducing.