On Oct. 28, Northwest is planning to unveil a travel agency Web
site that features ARC settlement and reporting, according to a
report by Travel Management Daily.
After registering, agencies will gain access to the full
inventory published by Northwest and its partner, KLM. Al Lenza,
Northwest’s vice president of distribution planning, said the
carrier’s agency site would show “anything we give to Orbitz,”
adding, “Orbitz doesn’t have exclusivity.”
American Airlines said last week that it would distribute
Web-only fares through the GDSs to agencies that agree to pay some
of the airline’s GDS booking fees. Lenza said Northwest would
evaluate American’s solution and will consider that tack if there
is industry demand for participation in such a business model.
“American is saying, ‘If you want parity on pricing, give me the
inducement or a portion of the GDS fees,’” Lenza said. “It remains
to be seen whether agents value Web fare access to the extent that
they will absorb the GDS cost.” Delta has made its Web fares
available on an agency site since March 2001.
Lenza conceded that Northwest’s agency site “will not be as
efficient as having everything in the GDS. It’s the economic model
we want in terms of the cost of distribution.” The Northwest travel
agency site will be a portal, giving agents access to Northwest and
KLM inventory as well as charter and vacation packages from
subsidiary MLT Vacations.