Travelport GDS will "temporarily" indemnify travel agents from new surcharges that Air France/KLM intends to impose for bookings made through the Galileo and Worldspan systems. The carrier has said that it will assess a €4.50 surcharge for bookings made through the systems by travel agents in France beginning June 1 and in the Netherlands beginning in mid-July.
Travelport's combined Galileo and Worldspan presence makes it the dominant GDS company in the Netherlands. Its agreement with Air France/KLM expired in December. Amadeus signed a three-year, full-content agreement with Air France/KLM early last year. Sabre signed a "long-term" full-content agreement with the carrier in September. Neither are subject to the planned surcharge.
Air France/KLM claims that Travelport wants to charge significant higher fees than its competitors for bookings made through its systems. It also has said it will consider withholding content from Galileo and Worldspan if a new agreement is not reached.
The battle between Air France/KLM is shaping up as a replay of last year's "Lufthansa vs. the GDSs."
Last July, Lufthansa and began imposing a €4.90 plus VAT surcharge per coupon on GDS bookings of flights departing German and Austria. A similar program involving its Swiss airline subsidiary went into effect Oct. 1 for flights departing Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Sabre and Travelport negotiated new agreements with Lufthansa and Swiss that protected their subscribers from the surcharge.
But Amadeus, the largest GDS in Germany, was unable to come to terms with Lufthansa. It absorbed the surcharge for German subscribers until Feb. 1. It plans to cease absorbing the surcharge for agents in Switzerland at the end of this month.
Meanwhile, Sabre's deal with Lufthansa expires at the end of June. Travelport's agreement with Lufthansa runs through 2011.