Travelport-connected travel agencies will not have to pay Emirates' new $14 to $25 GDS booking surcharge under an agreement revealed Thursday by the companies.
The announcement came on the same day that the Emirates surcharge went into effect and also on the first day that Emirates tickets and ancillary products are no longer available in the Sabre GDS.
According to Travelport, subscribers to their GDS have been automatically upgraded to a dedicated sales channel that provides access to Emirates content surcharge-free.
"These agencies will also continue to benefit from a graphically rich experience when searching for and booking Emirates branded fares, as well as greater access to its ancillary offers, thanks to a long-term extension of the airline's existing agreement to use Travelport's Rich Content and Branding merchandising tool," the GDS provider said.
The arrangement is part of a broader, new long-term agreement between Travelport and Emirates under which Emirates will sell its NDC-supported tickets, fare bundles and ancillary products through Travelport's new Travelport+ platform, a single distribution environment unveiled by the technology provider in April that is replacing the company's three legacy GDS systems, Galileo, Apollo and Worldspan.
Emirates also extended its IT agreement with Travelport, meaning that Travelport will continue to provide the pricing, shopping and ticket-rebooking technology that Emirates uses in its own sales channels, including Emirates.com and the its NDC channels.
Direct access to Emirates NDC content
Along with enabling Travelport subscribers to avoid the Emirates surcharge, the new arrangement enables agencies to gain simplified, direct connect access to Emirates NDC content and services once the agencies sign new NDC-specific agreements with both companies, Travelport said.
Emirates announced last February that it would implement the GDS surcharge effective July 1 in conjunction with its launch of an NDC-powered direct connect portal, Emirates Partner Portal, for travel agencies.
For now, however, the surcharge isn't active in at least two of the three primary GDSs used by U.S. travel advisors. Emirates and Sabre cut ties with the expiration of their commercial agreement Wednesday after they failed to reach terms on a contract extension.