EasyJet has defended its £10 charge for corporate travel agents to access fares on global distribution systems as the Guild of Travel Management Companies continues a boycott of the carrier’s GDS offering.
The airline has pledged to stamp out screen scraping of its fares and drive all leisure business to its website while charging TMCs a fee for GDS access.
EasyJet distribution development manager Jerry Dunn insisted some TMCs are booking the carrier through GDSs despite the GTMC boycott.
The carrier is believed to have signed a deal with American Express and is close to a deal with another leading TMC.
However, Dunn denied a report that the carrier is also seeking to reach leisure agents. He said any availability to leisure agents would end in September.
Dunn said: “We are not distributing to leisure agents via GDSs. Our strategy is to sell business travel through GDSs and leisure through easyjet.com. This is about controlling our distribution.”
The carrier is keen to build on the 20% of traffic it already attracts from corporate travel.
Dunn told the Institute of Travel Management conference in Dublin last week: ”We have taken flak for our business model, but we are trying to make things easier for corporate travellers.
“We are talking to TMCs and trying to find a way to move into GDSs and protect our interests. But we have to be careful – we do not want to increase our distribution costs or cannibalise direct sales.”
He added: “The TMCs say we have to pay if we want to be a preferred carrier. But we do not want to get into that.”
Sabre Travel Network brand marketing and strategy vice-president for Europe Geoffrey Breeze said: “EasyJet has followed the path on to GDSs, but at a price that is not acceptable.”
EasyJet has yet to appear on Sabre and Breeze said: “We are yet to reach agreement, but with good will we can.”
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