British Airways is poised to withdraw its lowest fares from Travelport global distribution systems and levy a point-of-sale charge on short-haul economy fares from Wednesday if there is no agreement on a new content deal with the GDS owner.
Travelport’s existing full content agreement with BA expires on Tuesday December 10.
Talks on a new agreement continued at the weekend. But in a letter to travel management companies and agents, BA warned: “As of December 11 Travelport will not meet the requirements to be a fully participating GDS.”
From this date, the airline said: “Certain of the lowest BA fare classes will be deselected from content made available to Travelport.
“In addition, short-haul economy class fares sold through Travelport will carry a point-of-sale charge to cover a portion of the additional costs associated with Travelport’s services.”
The letter states BA reserves full content participation for GDSs which provide “acceptable full content terms and conditions and an acceptable discount from standard rack rates.”
It argues: “It is no longer commercially viable for BA to sell certain content via a GDS that does not meet these requirements and other content can only be sold with the addition of a special charge to recover some of the additional costs associated with that GDS channel.”
BA said the amount to be charged at the point of sale “is still being determined”.
The letter does not specify the markets affected, but BA confirmed the charges and withdrawal of lowest fares would apply in the UK.
The carrier declined to give further details, but Richard Tams, head of UK & Ireland sales & marketing, said: “Negotiations are ongoing. We are intent on getting an agreement.”
Travelport also expressed a desire to reach an agreement.
BA signed a new, full content agreement with GDS Amadeus earlier this year. The airline’s existing content agreement with Sabre expires early next year.
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