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Emirates Wants to Shake Up Ticket Sales Through Closer Ties to Travel Agencies – Skift

Emirates is hoping to return to profitability next year by trimming costs while recapturing demand ahead of its rivals.

The Dubai-based carrier has been revealing details about one of its newest strategies. It aims to make its distribution more cost-effective. In July, Emirates will adopt a carrot and stick approach to encourage travel agencies to get more of their content from its data feeds rather than from middlemen tech companies.

Emirates’ “carrot” for travel agencies is that it has rolled out a digital portal to make it easier for agents to book products that the carrier has only been offering for sale via Emirates.com.

The “stick” is that — beginning on July 1 — Emirates will slap a surcharge on tickets booked through the software of global distribution system players. Travel agencies will avoid the fee by booking instead through the carrier’s direct connection gateway, launched last October.

“Our strategy is to become more agile,” said Adnan Abdul Fattah Kazim, Emirates’ chief commercial officer. “We want to move away from the marketplace treating our content like it’s a commodity.”

Emirates will add a fee of between $14 and $25 for tickets booked through the global distribution system players Amadeus, Travelport, China’s TravelSky, Japan’s Infini, and Russia’s Sirena.

As a side note: Emirates’ contract with Sabre for new and old types of airline distribution content ends in July. The companies are negotiating, Kazim said.

Emirates is arguably now the largest carrier to introduce surcharges, joining predecessors Lufthansa Group, Air France-KLM Group, International Airlines Group, Singapore Airlines, Aegean, and Qantas. Emirates is the world’s fourth-largest airline — after American, Delta, and United — when ranked by revenue passenger-kilometers, or the distance that paying passengers flew pre-pandemic, according to the International Air Transport Association.

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