The Lufthansa Group is disputing a report that its GDS
bookings in Europe plummeted in the two weeks after the company implemented a
controversial GDS surcharge of 16 euros.
“Currently there is no significant change of the overall
booking situation within the Lufthansa Group,” spokeswoman Claudia Lange said
in an email to Travel Weekly on Thursday. “We are in line with the statements
and forecasts given regarding the booking figures.”
Her comment came on the heels of a report by travel technology publication Tnooz on
Thursday that the four Lufthansa Group airlines (Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines,
Brussels Airlines and Swiss International Airlines) saw a 16.1 % year-over-year
decline in European GDS bookings between Sept. 1 and Sept. 14.
By comparison, the story said, Lufthansa's Europe bookings
were flat year-to-date through August. Meanwhile, other leading legacy carriers
saw an aggregate growth of 4.1% in their European bookings through the Sabre,
Amadeus and Travelport GDSs during September's first two weeks. Tnooz said that
it obtained the data through an undisclosed third party, and that the
information was only intended to be circulated among senior executives at
Sabre did not immediately respond to an email for comment
According to the data, Lufthansa lost significant market
share during the first half of this month on several of its major routes,
including Frankfurt-New York, Frankfurt-London and Berlin-Vienna.
In the weeks before and after Lufthansa's imposition of the surcharge
on Sept. 1, travel agents and corporate customers chafed at the plan, saying that it threatened
the entire distribution model that the industry is built upon. Some agents said
that they would avoid GDS bookings with Lufthansa when possible, and also that
they had no plan to book direct to avoid the surcharge.
The figures reported today suggest that those claims are
coming to fruition. U.S travel agencies that use Sabre did 24.8% less in volume
with Lufthansa during the first two weeks of September than they did during
that period last year, Tnooz reported.
Lufthansa suggested that such numbers should be view with
“The first weeks of September were heavily influenced by a
pilot’s strike action as well as other seasonal effects,” Lange said. “We
certainly will give the public detailed and reliable sales figures within our
regular financial reporting.”
Lufthansa was forced to cancel more than 1,000 flights on
Sept. 8 and Sept. 9 due to a pilot's strike.
Bill Florence, spokesman for Travelport, said that the
company is analyzing its Lufthansa bookings for the first half of September and
expects to have the data compiled by Friday.
Amadeus did not immediately respond to an email for comment