Q&A to support CWT / IAG announcement

4 December 2017


What has happened?

Earlier this year, International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of British Airways and Iberia, announced it would add a US$10 ‘distribution technology charge’ (also called the GDS surcharge) on each airline fare component booked with these 2 carriers, effective 1 November 2017.


A fare component is typically each segment of a ticket. A round-trip ticket of NYC-LON-NYC; would equate to two fare components of NYC-LON and LON-NYC, thus incurring a technology charge of $20.


CWT has reached an agreement with IAG to avoid the distribution technology charge on bookings made through all three global distribution systems (GDS): Amadeus (as of 1 November), Sabre (to be confirmed) and Travelport which includes Apollo, Galileo and Worldspan (as of 1 December).


Are travelers exempt from the surcharge regardless of the GDS being used to book travel?

Yes. Both transient and meetings & event bookings made through all three GDS platforms (Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport) are exempt from the surcharge being imposed by IAG per the dates below.


  • Amadeus as of 1 November
  • Sabre to be confirmed
  • Travelport as of 1 December


Does CWT’s agreement with IAG include the Partner Network?

For partners that agree to private channel agreement with the GDS the surcharge will be avoided.


Can you assure clients will have access to all BA and IB fares and content?

The content delivered through participating GDS platforms will be at the same level of content our customers are accustomed to seeing. CWT is dedicated to ensure our clients have the content they need.


What agreement is in place between CWT and IAG regarding NDC development?

CWT and IAG have agreed to work together on developing plans to offer NDC-level content to our mutual customers.


Isn't the GDS an "old" distribution model and aren’t there better, more modern alternatives?

The GDS continue to be a robust marketplace that provide a comprehensive shopping experience where individuals are able to shop and compare across multiple suppliers. This shopping experience allows customers to know they have access to the best content without having to shop in multiple locations. 


The GDS’ are investing in their technology to use NDC content which will support many of the initiatives the airlines are looking to do around personalization and merchandising. However, both sides, airlines and GDS’, need to collaborate commercially and technically to enhance and develop the technology required to make NDC a reality, and responsibility lies with both parties. We are working hard to bring these parties to the table with us to find common ground to solve this.


We believe that a unilateral decision by a carrier to drive volume outside the GDS to their direct channels will likely bring the following detrimental impacts:


  • Fragmentation of content that creates complex and manual searching and booking
  • Decreased price competition through less comprehensive comparison shopping
  • Limitation on CWT’s ability to assist with, and smoothly manage, travel changes
  • Significant reduction in CWT’s ability to effectively support travelers during emergencies and safety and security situations
  • Disjointed data provision for reporting and traveler tracking
  • Potential traveler confusion and inconvenience


We believe that these, and other impacts will ultimately result in diminished services and additional costs for your travel program. We further believe that there is no direct connect solution in the marketplace which addresses these impacts in an efficient manner. 


The GDS’ are well positioned to solve technically for NDC in cooperation with the airlines without disrupting existing services, process efficiencies or impacting the safety and security of travelers. 


Does CWT think other airlines will begin to charge for booking via the GDS?

Air France / KLM have announced they will begin to impose a surcharge beginning 1 April 2018.  However, we cannot speculate on what other airlines will do.