Lufthansa’s direct connect deals criticised by GTMC chief

Lufthansa’s direct connect deals criticised by GTMC chief

The head of the GTMC has voiced concern over direct connect deals signed between Lufthansa Group and two UK TMCs.

The deals with Portman Clarity and Click Travel, which cut out €16 distribution fee that agencies are charged on global distribution systems, were unveiled last week.

Tui’s German division also has a direct connect agreement with its compatriot airline group, which includes Swiss, Brussels Airlines and Austrian Airlines flights.

Paul Wait, CEO of the GTMC said: “Our overarching concern is that a direct connect between TMCs and airlines does not offer a positive, efficient customer experience.

“The direct set up does not make comparison shopping and best value easy for the customer, therefore bringing no tangible benefits. In fact, the long-term effects of inefficient fragmentation are incredibly damaging.”

He added: “The primary booking tool of TMCs is the GDS and anything outside of that has a negative impact on productivity. The inevitable knock on effect is the cost to the customer increasing.

“TMCs must offer an efficient and cost effective corporate travel service with wide-ranging choice and variety. Put simply, a TMC cannot satisfactorily service the complex requirements of the corporate customer without the GDS, and therefore the vast majority of professional TMCs will continue to use it.

“Any prediction for the future that says otherwise and envisages TMCs aggregating themselves is far removed from the management information, reporting, duty of care and cost effective service required by the clients of a TMC.

“Currently, direct connect technology does not represent a viable alternative.

“We welcome ambitious plans and change to established norms, however they must add to the customer benefits, not detract from them.”

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