American Express Global Business Travel has reached an agreement with Air France KLM that will enable its customers to avoid paying the new surcharge levied on GDS bookings.

Air France KLM began charging €11 per leg on all bookings made through the GDSs and online booking tools on 1 April. Under the deal, American Express GBT will be able to offer its clients the ability to avoid this fee.

The agreement is subject to the GDSs entering private channel arrangements with Air France KLM. Two of the three main GDSs have already done so.

Michael Qualantone, executive vice president of global supplier relations for American Express GBT, said: “Our customers want simple, aggregated and transparent access to air content. We seek key strategic partners who recognise this and will work with us to give customers the booking access and experience they deserve.

“We are advocating collaboration among airline and distribution partners to deliver the most comprehensive access to air content, the best pricing and shopping environment, within the robust servicing provided by the GDSs.”

Pieter Bootsma, executive vice president of commercial strategy for Air France KLM, added: “We fully recognise the value that the business travel segment, including all servicing and distribution partners, brings to our business. This agreement will continue the strategic relationship we have with GBT as we look to jointly provide corporate customers with the highest levels of customer experience and cost-efficiency.”

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