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The scandal is brewing in the air transportation market. Since April 13, Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) have introduced an additional YQ (GDS Fee) charge of $ 9 per flight, which customers are forced to pay. The new rules of work have affected all intermediaries - travel companies and specialized agencies that are selling tickets for air transport. According to the experts from the aviation industry more than half of all UIA tickets are sold through them. What impact will the conflict have on the aviation industry?
Agents are unsatisfied
In accordance with clause 8.1.2. of the rules of UIA, automated systems (ASB / GRS) are used for booking tickets. "Ticketing agents are obliged to use an automated system in their activities and, therefore, will not be able to register / purchase air tickets directly through the airline's website, where the sale of UIA air tickets is made without the use of this fee," the press service of the Association of Aviation Agencies says.
According to the preliminary estimates of the Association, introduction of such a fee would lead to an increase in the cost of each UIA ticket on an average of UAH 500. "Consumers compare prices on the website of the airline and the agency, the difference in prices is not encouraging," says co-owner of "Gamaliya" company Ihor Golubaha.
In such cases, customers can independently redeem tickets on the airline's website and, for example, ask the travel company to book a hotel room only and provide a transfer. According to the head of the travel company, who asked to remain anonymous, UIA often provided agencies with additional discounts - up to 5% on each ticket, which became good money for them. "Now these discounts also do not exist," said the source.
The Association's press service statement says that the UIA (AIDL) booking system is not designed to use the work of the agent, and it does not comply with the Code of Conduct for automated reservation systems approved by the European Commission. In addition, the UIA system includes a guarantee deposit, which is not protected by the International Air Transport Association. The system does not allow to search for tickets through several airlines at one time, so the agencies do not want to work only in the UIA system.
"Subsequently, such regulations can lead to job cuts in agencies, which is inevitable in the context of cost optimization." It should be noted that about 30-40% of all air tickets in Ukraine account on the UIA," the Association's press service said. Its representatives also sent letters describing the issue to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Prime Minister Groisman.
UIA does not see the problem
The UIA airline is surprised by the statements of some ticket sales agencies set out in the appeal to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, the carrier's press service said. "We understand the emotions of our colleagues who, like the carrier himself, are held hostage by the situation caused by tightening of the price policy of global reservation systems (GDS)," they say.
The costs of using global booking systems are not UIA revenues and do not depend on the airline, UIA insists. According to them, the nature of this fee is similar to airport taxes, which are also levied on the sale of an air ticket. It is also worth adding that the introduction of GDS-collection has recently become an industry trend.
Will we buy directly from UIA?
Agencies will have to adjust. UIA develops its online resource for selling air tickets and will not change the rules of the game, says the director of the Tourist Information Center Volodymyr Tsaruk. "Some consumers will book tickets through the airline's website," he said. Tourist companies will have much more difficulties to sell their product.
The Association of Aviation Agencies of Ukraine even appealed to the Cabinet with a request to intrude into this dispute. The answer has not yet come.
Experts believe that the changes will not have a huge impact on the work of the largest airline in Ukraine. UIA performs at least 70% of direct flights from "Boryspil" airport, so there are no alternatives to consumers.