Travelport GDS signed agreements with Lufthansa and Swiss that assure that the full content of both airlines will be made available to all Galileo and Worldspan users worldwide through 2011.
Under the new agreements, all GDS surcharges will be waived for Travelport GDS travel agencies who choose to participate in the new Lufthansa and Swiss Preferred Fares programs, soon to be launched in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Lichtenstein. The agreements take effect July 1, when Lufthansa and Swiss implement the Preferred Fares plans.
Lufthansa shocked agents in the affected countries when it announced the program in January.
The plan will increase fares booked through GDSs for flights departing German and Austria beginning July 1. The increases are €15 for one-way flights and €30 for roundtrips.
Lufthansa will continue to offer its pre-hike fares after July 1 for direct sales through its Web site, call center, ticket counter and its dedicated travel agent Web site, lufthansaagent.com.
Lufthansa initially said the lower fares would be made available through GDSs only when users agree to pay a fee of €4.90 plus VAT per coupon. The new policy applies regardless of where the flight is booked; for example, a travel agent in the U.K. booking a flight departing Germany or Austria would be subject to the policy.
Similar programs go into effect in Switzerland and Liechtenstein on Oct. 1. Since the program was announced, Lufthansa and Swiss have also signed agreements with Sabre that protect its subscribers from the fare increases and surcharges.
It is not known what, if any, concessions Sabre and Travelport made to gain the agreements.
The remaining unprotected travel agents are subscribers to Amadeus, the largest GDS in Germany, but help may be on the way.
Amadeus and Lufthansa issued a joint statement noting their "long history of working successfully together both on travel distribution and the implementation of major IT projects" and that their relationship is "based on a principle of long-term partnership."
The companies said their joint aim is "to reach a long-term agreement leading to competitive conditions for Amadeus travel agents which extends well into 2009 and beyond, and both companies are working to achieve that objective" before July 1.