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Published on Thursday, February 5, 2004

No-frills airlines to get cut price GDS access?

Travel Technology Show Special: GDSs may look to offer reduced fees as an incentive to get no-frills carriers on board, Amadeus executive vice president commercial, David Jones said. Speaking to a packed seminar room, Mr Jones said: “At the moment low cost carriers believe they don’t need GDSs because they are distributing well through their websites. They have managed perfectly well without us. “Low cost carriers have found ways of getting onto agents’ desktops through screen scrapers and such like, but these come at a high cost to agents.” He said that agents needed access to low fares, and the GDSs were the best way to get them. “Today agents pay for access to low fares through screen scrapers or getting counsellors to search the websites, which is inefficient.” Debate moderator, Paul Richer argued that either way agents would have to pay, whether it was to no-frills screen scrapers, like Dolphin Dynamic’s FlightScanner, or to GDSs if they could get the no-frills airlines on board. But Mr Jones claimed the issue of yield management will mean that over time no-frills carriers will need to consider other channels of distribution. Cendant Travel Distribution Service (Galileo) regional director UK and Ireland, Alison Bell said her company had already tried to lure no-frills carriers to sign up to a low cost booking product, but said it had failed to attract the two major carriers – Ryanair and easyJet. Mr Jones paved the way for a low-cost entry to GDSs for no-frills carriers. He said: “The value of a reservation to an airline varies widely and we believe industry pricing will evolve to reflect that.” He added that the lack of involvement in GDSs by no-frills carriers had made traditional scheduled airlines start re-evaluating their involvement. He said: “They [traditional schedule carriers] are saying that maybe they can distribute enough low fares through the website alone.” He added: “We must find a way of addressing this and we will not get it at today’s booking fee levels, so something has got to give.” Report by Ginny McGrath

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