Travel Industry

Aegean Airlines are adding a new fee for GDS bookings from 2021 - what can travel sellers do next?

Tim Rogers
Tim Rogers
17 September, 2020

Today, Aegean Airlines announced that they are introducing a new "Distribution Channel Fee" (DCF) for all bookings made through a GDS (global distribution system) – on 1st January 2021.

In this post, we'll explain what this will mean for travel sellers and what options they will have going forward.

The announcement from Aegean, shared on 17th September 2020

So what is changing?

From 1st January 2021, you'll have to pay an additional €5 per passenger for each Aegean Airlines (`A3`)-marketed flight you book through Amadeus, Sabre or Travelport.

This charge will apply only to adults and children - you won't pay anything extra for infants.

If you're paying in a currency other than Euros, the €5 will be converted into your local currency.

Well, what does this mean for travel sellers?

Starting from 1st January, if you continue to book through a GDS, you'll either have to pass the higher costs onto customers, making your prices uncompetitive compared to the fares on the Aegean Airlines website, or you’ll have to take a direct hit to your margins.

Aegean is not the first airline to introduce a GDS surcharge. As we discussed in our post about the benefits of NDC for travel sellers, Lufthansa led the charge in 2015, followed soon after by British Airways, Iberia and Air France–KLM.

Recently, Singapore Airlines also announced that they'll be launching a similar charge at the beginning of 2021.

What are my options to avoid the new fee with Aegean?

Aegean won't apply the new fee to bookings made through a New Distribution Capability (NDC) connection. NDC is a new technology which allows airlines to distribute their inventory to travel agents more effectively. To avoid the fee, travel sellers just need to have a direct connection to this NDC content.

How do I get access to Aegean's NDC content?

Aegean's NDC content is not currently available through GDSs. There are three ways to get access:

1. Use SPRK, Aegean's browser-based agency tool

You can sign up for SPRK, Aegean's browser-based tool for making and managing bookings, on their website. This tool is powered by NDC, so you won't have to pay the extra charge.

Searching for flights using Aegean Airlines' SPRK tool, shared with sister airline Olympic Air

With SPRK, you can get started easily, but your customers won’t be able to make bookings themselves through your website or app, and your team will have to learn a new tool every time you want to access NDC content from other airlines.

2. Build your own integration with Aegean's NDC API

If you have your own website or internal tools, you can build your own integration with Aegean's NDC API.

With your own integration, you can integrate search, booking and changes into your website or mobile app, with total control over the customer experience.

However, you'll need significant IT resources to build this integration — it usually takes between 1 and 6 months, plus additional time in the future for upgrades and tweaks.

You’ll also need to repeat this investment for every NDC airline you wish to work with, since each airline's API is different and requires a separate integration.

3. Work with a technology provider like Duffel

If you want to get direct access to the airline's NDC offerings, but you don’t have the time or capital to build individual connections to each and every airline, then working with an “aggregator” like Duffel, AirGateway or Travelfusion is a great choice.

If you use an aggregator, you can access content from multiple airlines all through a single API.

With Duffel, you can access NDC content from more than 20 airlines all through one single platform.

We give you access to these airlines’ best fares and ancillaries, and bring them all together into one universal API. Our modern JSON API and great documentation means that your integration will take days, not months.

We also offer a universal agent UI for travel sellers who want something off the shelf and don't want to build an API integration.

Searching and booking with Aegean using Duffel's universal booking tool

How do I get started with Duffel?

Getting started is easy. Sign up for Duffel from our website, and once you have completed the simple API integration, you can turn on new airlines in one click— so, for example, you can start with Aegean, and then turn on Lufthansa when you’re ready.

  • Tim Rogers
    Tim Rogers
    Head of Flights