Air France and KLM have further postponed the introduction of its GDS surcharge for business travel agencies, with the charge now to be levied from the end of the first quarter of 2023, the airlines confirmed to BTN Europe.
The fee, currently €13 per segment booked by GDS, already applies to leisure travel agencies and was introduced to encourage adoption of the NDC.
It was supposed to be extended to travel management companies this spring, but in April it was delayed until the end of that month. The move was made after TMCs raised concerns about the readiness of the airlines’ NDC program and the ability to handle bookings after booking.
Those concerns still exist, with Laurent Abitbol, chairman of French travel agency group Marietton Développement – whose brands include TMC Ailleurs Business and Havas Voyages – recently told L’Echo Touristique that booking an Air France ticket via NDC takes two and a half years. minutes against 30 seconds via a classic access to Amadeus.
“This delay is inconsistent with our business. Features don’t work, including auto-refund,” he said. “We are asking for the NDC to be postponed for at least six months in business travel, until Air France finds a quick solution with Amadeus. Technology must be a source of progress, not anxiety. “
A statement from the airlines said: “Air France-KLM has heard the message from business travel agents that, with teams and resources under pressure amid a rapid recovery over the summer, conditions are not not fully met at this point for a full roll -out.
“After carefully analyzing the situation with its partners, Air France-KLM has decided to give until the end of March 2023 for the business ecosystem and the industry to be ready for a wider deployment. Therefore, Air France and KLM will extend until [the] end of the first quarter of 2023.
He said both carriers “will continue to work closely with all business stakeholders to prepare for the NDC transition” and that significant corporate pilots have taken place.
Currently, approximately 75% of Air France and KLM’s online leisure bookings are processed via NDC-enabled technology.
The airlines said it is now focusing on the business ecosystem and working with TMCs and aggregators towards a scalable product through its AFKL API solution. A major milestone was reached in August, he said, with the booking of the first corporate pilots live through NDC.
“Significant progress has been made over the past few months and allows us to release our API for the commercial segment in September, adding key new features.”
These include the automated management of complex refund cases (such as partially flown routes) and the development of new private fares.
The airlines’ statement concluded: “Over the next six months, Air France-KLM will continue to work closely with all stakeholders to carry out corporate pilots, improve both NDC technology and the new content for the benefit of customers.”