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Air France-KLM postpones GDS surcharge a fourth time

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Air France and KLM have once again postponed the introduction of its GDS surcharge for business travel agencies, with the fee now due to be levied from 1 January 2025 rather than 1 July 2024, according to reports in French trade press.

The TMC surcharge, which already applies to leisure travel agencies and will be levied on EDIFACT-based GDS bookings, has now been repeatedly delayed. It was initially scheduled to be introduced in September 2022. This was then postponed until 31 March 2023 and then again until 1 January 2024 and most recently to 1 July 2024.

Introduced to help drive adoption of New Distribution Capability (NDC) technology, the fee has also gradually increased from €13 per GDS-booked segment, to €17 and is now expected to be €21.

However, Henri Hourcade, France director of Air France-KLM told French trade publication L’Echo tourisme this could increase again “in the coming months”.

The move comes less than a week after American Airlines announced changes to its hard-line NDC strategy, with CEO Robert Isom admitting  “we moved faster than we should have”.

Hourcade said the Air France-KLM decision to delay the surcharge by a further six months is because “we still need to resolve issues… [and] we also want to support our partners”.

In a previous statement provided to BTN Europe, the airline group said the surcharge will apply to “business travel agencies in the French and Dutch markets and global business travel players”.

Hourcade said the number of Air France-KLM tickets issued via NDC in the business segment has increased to 8 per cent, up from 4 per cent in January 2024.

“Several hundred business customers have made the switch to NDC. And the majority of TMCs are currently in the pilot phase with their corporate clients,” he added.

Last June, the carriers removed short and medium-haul “Light” fares from traditional GDS channels. These fares are now only available via NDC connections and Hourcade confirmed “we have the best Air France-KLM rates on NDC”.

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