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 the marketplace."

"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 and insurance."


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