Walsh defends plan to pull some BA fares from GDSs

Walsh defends plan to pull some BA fares from GDSs

The outspoken boss of British Airways’ parent company this week said the airline will pull some of its fares from GDSs and described the proposed cost of a third Heathrow runway as “bullshit”.

Wille Walsh said International Airlines Group (IAG) would restrict the fares it makes available through GDSs to those that “require an intermediary”.

The chief executive of IAG, which owns BA, Aer Lingus and Iberia, said: “We can’t afford to make all our fares available through the GDS. It’s too expensive. It’s not justifiable. It doesn’t make sense.

“We want the cheapest cost of distribution. We’ll provide relevant fares through the GDS. [But] we’re not going to make all fares available. A lot of transactions are simple point to point and chosen on price. Customers don’t need an intermediary to do it.”

He told the Guild of Travel Management Companies’ conference in Ireland: “There is a role for the GDS. There are bookings where price is not a concern. There are things the 
GDSs can do that we can’t.

“We want a relationship, but it can’t be based on a model that was right for the 1990s. It has to be based on a changed industry.

“Aer Lingus uses the GDS only where it adds value, then they’re happy to pay the [GDS] rack rate. About 80% of Aer Lingus sales go through the direct channel.”

BA and Iberia imposed fees on GDS bookings last November as they seek to drive bookings through New Distribution Capability channels.

Amadeus UK general manager Liz Emmott warned: “There will continue to be pain until the [NDC] technology is developed to support the new structure. It will take time.”


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