Lufthansa has confirmed that it has started discounting some short-haul economy-class return fares by €20 when booked though direct or NDC-enabled channels on top of waiving the €16 fee applied to GDS bookings.

This backs up a report by The Company Dime, which says the €10 each-way discount applies to flights from Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna and Zurich.

Lufthansa Group announced in March that it would sell its ‘best available’ economy-class fares for flights from its German hubs exclusively through direct and NDC-enabled channels, a move also made by British Airways. The airline said it would also apply a €5 discount to ancillaries such as advanced seat reservations or first bag fees.

Hans-Ingo Biehl, executive director of VDR, told The Company Dime that Lufthansa’s approach falls short of meeting the needs of the business travel market. “Since this is the most profitable segment of the airline, we would still like to have a more cooperative approach to changing processes.”

At a press briefing, Andreas Koester, senior director of sales – UK, Ireland & Iceland at Lufthansa Group, confirmed that Lufthansa will continue to offer discounts on return fares when booked through direct connections, including fares to Manchester and Glasgow.

“This is exactly what we mean by a true API connection – that we connect the in-house systems of the agency to our direct connect and via this agency-specific connection. It is an individual project which takes a couple of months between the agency and the technicians on our side; we have to make sure most of the functions are available, but there is no black and white. We have to make sure we cover the key concerns of our agencies and our customers and this is part of these joint projects. These are not projects by LH group alone – it is something by the agency and Lufthansa together.”

Koester said that SPRK, the Farelogix-powered travel agency platform that gives agencies access to direct connections, is being re-launched in the first half of 2018.

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