Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr says the airline group's surcharge
on GDS bookings has been so successful that he would be "very surprised"
if other airlines do not follow suit.
Spohr addressed the topic during the company's fourth-quarter
earnings call on Thursday, answering an analyst's question about the
distribution strategy. He said, "The overall business case is more
positive than we thought."
"We also believe it's only a question of time when
others will follow," Spohr continued. "From what we hear in the
industry and with the visible success of Lufthansa, I'd be very surprised if
others would not follow."
The CEO also said that corporate customers' loyalty to
Lufthansa has increased.
Lufthansa began charging the 16 euro fee per GDS booking on
Sept. 1, 2015. It applies to bookings made on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines,
Brussels Airlines and Swiss International Airlines.
In its annual financial report for 2016, Lufthansa said the
fee "is starting to pay off" as it "has become established in
"At the same time, the share of direct bookings at the
network airlines, particularly in their home markets, has continually
increased," the report states. "Negotiations on direct bookings with
customers, tour operators, travel agencies and technology providers are
delivering a steady stream of successes. Demand has also increased for
complementary services such as upgrades, baggage services, hotels, rental cars