EasyJet will participate in Amadeus and Galileo, becoming the first major European low-fare carrier to sign deals with GDS companies.

The carrier said the move is designed to tap into the $90 billion corporate travel market in Europe.

EasyJet said it will add a point-of-sale fee to fares booked through the GDSs, ensuring that its Web site "remains our primary distribution channel and fares will always be cheapest when booking direct online."

The fees will be €7.50 (£5.25) for a single-sector booking; €12 (£8.40) for bookings with two sectors, and €5 (£3.50) per sector for bookings with three of more sectors.

The fees will be displayed in the GDSs on a separate line below the fare line. EasyJet also applies the fees to bookings made via its call centers and airport agents.

The fares-plus-fees still will be "dramatically lower" than those offered by traditional carriers, EasyJet said. Amadeus is carrying out pilots in Germany, France, Spain and the U.K. When they are ended later this month, Amadeus will make EasyJet flights available to all eligible agencies worldwide.

Galileo also is conducting pilots. The carrier's flights will become available through Galileo in the U.K. in December and in the rest of Europe early next year.

Amadeus and Galileo each developed direct-connect technology to incorporate EasyJet's fares and inventory into their core GDSs, enabling travel agencies to book the carrier in their usual channel and workflow. Flights and fares will be listed normally on green screen displays.

In opting for GDS participation, EasyJet is taking a page from its U.S. counterparts, Jet Blue Airways and Southwest Airlines.

Within the last 18 months, both carriers have dropped their longstanding resistance to GDS participation in order to gain access to the higher-yield managed corporate travel business that is dominated by travel agencies.

JetBlue, the first to take the plunge, said fares sold through the GDSs are about $35 to $40 higher than those booked via direct channels. It now participates in all four GDSs.

Southwest, which has participated in Sabre at a minimal level since the mid-1990s, will become available in Galileo this month and in Worldspan next year.

Although EasyJet said it will maintain its direct distribution strategy, it expects GDS participation to boost its share of business travelers, who currently represent about 20% of its traffic.