Lufthansa dismisses massive agency turn against distribution surcharge

Lufthansa claims it has not seen any bookings going the way of rival carriers despite a survey of agencies in Germany pointing to a major switch in recent months.

The German Travel Association (DRV) says a study of 300 of its member agencies in late-November and early-December has seen 40% change their booking behaviour away from Lufthansa following the introduction of its controversial Euro 16 levy on tickets sold via Global Distribution Systems.

It claims major German corporations such as SAP and Siemens are now using other carriers to fly employees around the world.

The biggest shift is in international bookings, says the DRV survey from both online and offline agencies.

Stefan Vordran, DRV board member and the lead for the organisation on business travel issues, claims the airline has lost around 10% of its market share as a result of agencies turning their backs on the home carrier since the levy began on 1 September this year.

This is estimated to be somewhere in the region of over Euro 100 million in flight tickets going to other carriers, Vordan claims.

The airline has previously admitted to experiencing “headwinds” on its international bookings since the levy was introduced, but says there has so far been no impact on its domestic flights.

Responding to the DRV survey, a Lufthansa official says:

“We cannot see any direct action to redirect bookings towards other airlines although we have seen an increase in direct booking through

“In Germany this is up six percentage points to 37% compared to previous years.”

DRV claims some 92% of its members do not see the portal created to attract agency bookings outside of the GDS as an alternative option.

The airline was hit by what it says was the “biggest strike action in Lufthansa history” during November, but traffic figures for October – the first clean month since the levy began – saw the carrier increases passenger numbers, although some of its rivals had larger increases.

A Global Business Travel Association report in October claimed more than two-fifths of travel buyers had decreased their bookings with Lufthansa.

Just 2% of buyers said they would book directly with the carrier to avoid the Euro 16 charge on every bookings, the GBTA claimed.

NB: Lufthansa plane image via Shutterstock.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.





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  1. Walter Schut

    The BSP-figures in The Netherlands of ANVR Travel Agents show in november 2015 a -28,7% for the Lufthansagroup compared with the amount of tickets sold in november 2014. I think this is a little bit more than some “headwinds”.
    The percentage is based on the BSP-figures of Dutch Travel Agents, member of the Travel Agents and Tour Operators Association ANVR and they cover 94% of BSP-sales in The Netherlands.
    Walter Schut, deputy director of the ANVR.

    • Joost

      @Walter: nice framing and good PR from you and your paying members of your Dutch travel lobby. But you are only presenting 50% of the facts. Yes, there was a decrease of BSP tickets sold by LH, but what was the increase via their direct channel? On purpose, your fail to mention that. I can’t blame you because your paying members won’t like the reality, but dear Walter, let’s stick to ALL facts and not only yours 😉 good luck with your lobby!

  2. John Warner

    6% growth for domestic bookings via a direct sales channel (despite multiple employee labor actions during the same time period) in such a short period of time is huge.

    As a public company, the Lufthansa Group would be required to share -IF- bookings or revenue had dropped, or not met forecast.

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @john – that is very much the case for any publicly listed organisation… It just depends on the eventual scale of those “headwinds”, a term it disclosed but didn’t add a value to at that stage (nor should it – it’s too early)…


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