Air France-KLM and Amadeus have agreed on commercial terms to make the airline group’s plane tickets available for travel agents to book through the Amadeus travel platform via newer, more modern forms of selling, the companies said Thursday.
Travel agents piloting the technology will begin booking via the new method, the so-called new distribution capability (NDC), in the next three months.
Air France-KLM will add a surcharge of “a few euros” per ticket for agencies using the new content. Agencies will need to sign agreements with both Air France-KLM and Amadeus, and those deals will settle the precise commercial terms.
“This is a breakthrough agreement,” said Robert Buckman, director, travel content sourcing, Americas, Amadeus.
The surcharge will be less than the $13 (€11) surcharge per one-way ticket Air France-KLM has officially charged agencies since 2018 for sales made through the global distribution systems like Amadeus and its peers Sabre and Travelport that didn’t follow the more modern retailing method. In practice, many large resellers, such as Expedia Group and many large travel management companies, negotiated ways to avoid or minimize the surcharge, often via so-called “private channels.”
The deal is a milestone on a long road since 2012 when the International Air Transport Association proposed the idea of new technical standards for how airlines, agencies, and vendors communicate with each other.
One key haggling point has been who should pay for the cost of upgrading the technology. The Air France-KLM deal with Amadeus suggested an implicit split among airlines, technology partners, and online and offline travel agency customers.
The deal will be closely studied. Air France-KLM had followed Lufthansa Group and International Airlines Group (the parent company of British Airways) in adding a surcharge on tickets booked outside of the