Northwest to Launch Agency Site

Agencies to get access to full inventory, plus ARC settlement and reporting functions

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.