Agents booking Lufthansa or Swiss flights from Germany via Travelport learned today they will not pay a booking charge.

The owner of global distribution systems Galileo and Worldspan has signed a deal with Lufthansa and Swiss making the same fares available to most agents in German-speaking markets as on the airlines’ websites.

Lufthansa, which owns Swiss, will add a fee to all tickets sold through channels other than its own website from June 1. A majority of German travel agents will have access to preferred fares carrying a fee of Euro4.90 per flight on GDSs. Fares outside the preferred scheme will carry a Euro30 fee.

The deal with Travelport will run until 2011 and follows a similar agreement between Lufthansa and rival Sabre. It means the Euro4.90 fee will be waived for agents using either of these GDSs. However, the leading GDS in Germany, Amadeus, has yet to agree a deal.

The fees will apply in Austria, Switzerland and Lichtenstein as well as Germany.

The move by Lufthansa marks the latest stage in a struggle by airlines to make agents and GDSs pay to access fares. Up to now the airlines have paid to appear on GDSs.

Travelport GDS managing director for Europe Bryan Conway said: “These unrivalled agreements will sharpen our competitive edge.”

Lufthansa vice president for sales and marketing Thierry Antinori added: “This will give all travel agencies using Galileo or Worldspan long-term peace of mind.”