Lufthansa Group says that charging a €16 fee for all GDS bookings from today (September 1) is in the “best interests” of customers.
The group, which includes Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Swiss, has received plenty of criticism for the implementation of the fee, known officially as the distribution cost charge (DCC), which was first announced in June.
Advantage Focus Partnership, a consortium of 66 business travel agencies in the UK, has already decided to enter a “period of non-co-operation” with Lufthansa over the GDS charge.
Lufthansa has struck back by saying that new “direct connect” booking channels were “generating strong interest among the industry partners”.
Jens Bischof, chief commercial officer of Lufthansa German Airlines, said: “Our realignment of our distribution has prompted an intensive exchange of views and experiences within our industry.
“But we are still as convinced as ever that offering advanced and, at the same time, substantially cheaper additional booking channels – that also allow us to better present our products – is in our customers’ best interests.
“That’s why we consistently pursue the further development of our distribution channels.”
Lufthansa stressed that corporate clients could avoid paying the GDS fee and access their individually contracted rates by booking through Lufthansa’s main website.
“We want to work together with the travel agents and the GDSs to make the sale of air tickets more up-to-date, more inexpensive and more customer-minded,” added Bischof.
“We have swiftly developed a range of IT solutions that will be offered to our customers in the near future.”