Amadeus claims Lufthansa has lost the trust of the industry
Amadeus has slammed Lufthansa for its “aggressive and unilateral” decision to impose a tax on tickets sold via global distribution systems.
The attack comes in a letter obtained by Tnooz to Amadeus customers from Scott Gutz, the company’s president and CEO in North America.
Following last week’s fierce defence of Lufthansa’s new strategy (which comes into force in September this year with a Euro 16 levy on GDS-facilitated fares) by Christian Schindler, its regional director in the UK, Ireland and Iceland, Amadeus’s Gutz has turned the tables on Lufthansa with a blistering take-down.
Gutz claims “the market” has opposed LHG’s surcharge, arguing there have been “strong reactions from travel agencies, corporations, their respective associations and consumer protection associations”.
These has led to travel agencies feeling “deceived by LHG”, Gutz says.
The airline, he claims, needs to “listen to the concerns of the market, and earn back the trust of the industry”.
“A number of industry participants have questioned the legality of LHG’s approach, and the impact on consumers’ and corporations’ ability to compare airline offerings in a transparent and neutral manner.
“Amadeus supports initiatives that protect consumers, and the principles of comparison, transparency, and neutrality, and we have been explaining our position to travel associations about the impact the surcharge will have on such principles.”
Gutz says some travel agencies have been approached by LHG with “direct connect alternatives”, but hints that such arrangements are not a viable option.
“LHG has already engaged with some of you and you will have already experienced the increased workload this means for you and the airline.
“As discussions evolve, you may also be tackling new topics such as content and economic guarantees, readiness and ease of alternatives, integration and maintenance costs, or approach to data.”
The letter argues that concerns over direct-connect range from:
· “the agency’s ability to seamlessly service their end customers’ needs (given that the PNR would be owned by LHG, for example)
· “the agency’s ability to seamlessly integrate direct connects to enable true fare comparison
· “the very high costs of integrating customized solutions for airlines
· “the higher cost of managing many diverse content definitions compared to today’s standardized world of full content.”
Finally, Gutz argues that Lufthansa has had the direct-connect technology for “a long time but never deployed it”.
This, he suggests, is “presumably because agencies never had had an economic justification until now to adopt it”.
“Regardless of the IT provider, this would be a LHG controlled channel commercialized, managed and supported under LHG’s full responsibility.”
Despite the blistering attack on the new Public Enemy One of the GDS world (American Airlines was the incumbent for many years), Gutz says:
“We are committed to work together with our partners to find a resolution.”
The letter was mailed to customers from Amadeus North America in Miami, Florida.
It follows a similar broadside at Lufthansa from Sabre CEO Tom Klein earlier this year.
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