British Airways and Iberia will add an £8 charge to any booking made through the GDS from November.

The fee represents a change in the airline’s distribution model, with BA playing a leading role over the past couple of years in innovations around NDC.

The charge, which is similar to the one introduced two years ago by Lufthansa, will apply to any bookings not made using an NDC-based connection, or through channels such as websites, airline sales offices and call-centres.

BA said the charge recovers the “significantly greater costs” applied through booking with the GDS.

In a letter sent to agents and seen by BBT, it said its distribution strategy is focused on providing an “enhanced range of booking options to partners”.

“We appreciate this represents significant change for your business and therefore, in order to give you time to adapt and consider the range of options available to you, we will not be implementing the charge until 1 November, 2017.”

GDS provider Travelport told BBT the fee “penalises” consumers looking to book travel through the travel agency medium.

“Travelport regrets that British Airways and Iberia are imposing what looks like the equivalent of a travel agency APD seeking to penalise consumers who enjoy the benefits of choice, efficiency and value…they will be penalised both through this surcharge and the potential introduction of less efficient working practices,” the company said.

“We remain fully engaged with British Airways and Iberia to work in good faith on mechanisms to connect with travel agencies and travellers, including the integration into our system of their content through their API – when it is fully functioning -just as we have done with other airlines,” it added.

Q&A

British Airways has published some answers to FAQs around NDC and the imposed fee.

What is NDC?

NDC (New Distribution Capability) is a travel industry-supported standard for XML-based data transmission. The NDC standard enhances the capability of communications between airlines and travel agents and it better enables:

•          Product differentiation and time-to-market

•          Access to full and rich air content

•          Transparent shopping experience 

What is the charge amount?

The charge will be 9.50 Euros per fare component, and will also be priced in USD 10, GBP 8, CHF 10, and JPY 1,100. The amount is subject to adjustment in the future.

What alternative options are available to me?

In addition to your current connection options, British Airways and Iberia content will be available to you via the following means of delivery:

  • NDC direct connection
  • NDC via an IT service provider / aggregator
  • Self-booking tools connected to BA or IB via NDC
  • IAG Booking Portal (to be available shortly)
  • Other travel intermediaries, including GDS, that adopt NDC based connections in the future

What is a fare component?

A portion of a journey or itinerary between two consecutive fare break points.  In most cases a fare component is equivalent to an Origin & Destination journey, however depending on the fare construction there are some exceptions to this rule.  Further information can be found in our detailed guide to the distribution technology charge that is available from your account manager and the BA and IB travel trade websites (www.batraveltrade.com, www.speedbirdclub.com and www.iberiagencias.com).

How will the charge be collected?

It will be automatically collected through a Q charge on ticketing.

How will the charge appear?

The charge will automatically be applied as part of the fare and will be visible as a distinct line item within the fare quote line on the ticket.

What fares will the charge apply to?

All British Airways and Iberia marketed fares in all cabins and classes, regardless of the ticket stock. Other carrier fares booked on BA and IB metal will not be subject to the charge.

Does the charge apply to all IAG airlines?

Both Aer Lingus and Vueling will continue to apply their existing indirect pricing structure and therefore the charge will not apply to Aer Lingus and Vueling marketed fares.  In addition, British Airways or Iberia marketed fares used wholly for Vueling operated sectors will be excluded from the charge, except on some specific routes that will be communicated in due course.  The charge will apply to Iberia and British Airways marketed fares operated by Aer Lingus, Iberia Express, LEVEL, BA CityFlyer and OpenSkies.

Treatment of British Airways and Iberia marketed fares operated by our franchise partners: Comair, Sun-air and Air Nostrum will be communicated in due course.

Are there any exceptions?

The charge will not apply to fares booked and ticketed through low-cost channels, such as British Airways and Iberia’s direct channels or through their NDC based connections. BA Groups Fares, IATA Fully Flex Fares, Infants without a seat and BA ADD- shorthaul add-on fares. Some countries (including China and Brazil) may be exempt from the charge and these will be confirmed shortly.

What if I already have a booking for travel after the charge is introduced?

The charge will not be applied to bookings made and ticketed prior to the introduction of the charge.  However, any bookings ticketed or changed after that date will be subject to the charge.  Some exceptions may exist for specific ‘fare at time of booking’ products.

Is there more information available?

If you have a BA/IB account manager we would encourage you to discuss the impact of the charge with them. A detailed guide outlining the application of the distribution technology charge is available from your account manager or refer to BA and IB trade websites (www.batraveltrade.com, www.speedbirdclub.com and www.iberiagencias.com).

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