BCD Travel has reached an agreement with British Airways and Iberia that will let the travel management company’s clients book reservations on those carriers without incurring a distribution surcharge.
Under the multi-year deal, BCD Travel will work with BA, IB and technology providers on how new technologies and distribution capabilities can improve the travel experience for mutual clients and travelers. In announcing the deal, BCD said it is committed to ensuring companies retain the benefits of traditional distribution channels and will continue exploring the option of GDSs providing a viable new distribution capability (NDC) solution.
The airlines announced earlier this year that on Nov. 1 they would introduce a distribution technology charge applied to all air bookings—with the exception of those made through NDC-based connections or through the airlines’ websites, sales offices and call centers. Bookings made using global distribution systems (GDSs) would be subject to the charge, while bookings using the International Air Transport Associations’ new distribution capability would not.
BCD said one of the three major GDSs supported its arrangement with BA and IB, which will allow the carriers to waive the distribution technology charge for bookings made through this GDS, starting Nov. 1. “BCD is now confident that similar support will be forthcoming from the other two major GDSs,” the TMC said. Business travel industry news outlet The Beat followed the BCD announcement with a report that other major GDSs were “nearing distribution arrangements.”
BCD Travel’s Rose Stratford said the TMC is “committed to ensuring our industry moves forward and new technologies are used to improve the customer experience” for travel buyers. “This agreement helps do that,” said Stratford, executive vice president of Global Supplier Relations & Strategic Sourcing for the travel management company. “It ensures that airline distribution channels will continue to provide corporate travel buyers with all the benefits they currently enjoy.
“This includes the ability to shop from among multiple competing offers between like city pairs and to capture essential data needed to keep travelers safe on the road,” Stratford said. “We applaud British Airways and Iberia’s willingness to work with BCD Travel to reach an agreement that mutually benefits our customers.”
Stephen Humphreys, British Airways’ global head of sales, said, “We are delighted to have reached this agreement with BCD Travel, which is great news for our mutual customers. BCD Travel has given a strong commitment to NDC, and we look forward to working in collaboration with them and their technology partners in developing plans and delivering enhanced experiences for customers.”