Qantas will transform its distribution model beginning Aug.
1 with the introduction of a private GDS channel.
All IATA- and ARC-accredited agencies will be eligible to
join the new Qantas Distribution Channel, which agencies will be able to access
via Sabre, Travelport and Amadeus, as well as selected Qantas direct-connect
Agencies that agree to participate in the Qantas channel
will gain access to tailored fares that won't be available in the standard GDS
channel, including additional price points beyond the 26 ATPCO fare classes
supported by legacy GDS technology. Agents will be eligible for bonus
commissions for booking selected flights. And the Qantas channel will offer a
variety of ancillary products that Qantas doesn't sell in the standard GDS
channel, including seat selection.
Conversely, agencies that don't join the Qantas channel will
be subject to a booking surcharge of $12.50 per segment. They'll also lose
access to some fare classes that Qantas currently sells through the GDS on
itineraries that commence in Australia.
Qantas said that the majority of its key agency partners
have agreed to participate in the private channel, including Carlson Wagonlit
Travel, Expedia Group, Virtuoso, Flight Centre, CT Connections and Consolidated
Travel Group, among others.
Qantas chief customer officer Vanessa Hudson said the
private channel will allow agencies to deliver more specialized Qantas products
"We know our customers expect an increasingly
personalized, flexible and seamless experience no matter how or where they make
their booking, whether it's directly with us or indirectly through a corporate
travel manager, online agent or their local travel agent," Hudson said.
The airline said that registration for the Qantas channel
will open March 1 for selected agencies and consolidators. Registration will
open to all agencies on April 1. To guarantee access to the private channel
from its Aug. 1 launch date, agencies must finalize agreements with Qantas and
their GDS by May 31.
In developing a private channel within the GDSs, Qantas is
following the lead of IAG, parent of British Airways and Iberia, which
pioneered the concept in the fall of 2017. Air France KLM followed suit last
Under those arrangements, agencies consent to forfeiting
booking incentives traditionally paid by the GDSs in exchange for the perks
that come with the private channel, and to avoid a booking surcharge from the
The GDSs, meanwhile, charge the airline a smaller segment
fee on private channel bookings than they charge the carrier on bookings
through the standard GDS channel.
Qantas' launch of its private distribution channel follows
the carrier's roll-out last year of a distribution platform supported by IATA's
New Distribution Capability (NDC), the XML messaging standard that promises to
enable airlines to sell more products through the GDSs.
Sabre on Thursday said that the new distribution agreement
it has entered into with Qantas will further its Beyond NDC initiative, which
is committed to driving industry adoption of the messaging standard.