QANTAS’S new distribution channel, Qantas Channel, will be available from August 1 in the South African market.

Registration, which is free, will close on June 30. Failure to do so will result in channel fees of R170 per segment.

Agents need not fear the airline’s new distribution channel, according toMichi Messner, regional manager for Qantas in Africa. As Amadeus, Travelport and Sabre are all on board with Qantas Channel, Michi says agents don’t have to learn a new system and can continue to work in their GDSs.

Qantas says, over time, customers who book through agencies will
get personalised offers, including tier-based offers for members of the Qantas frequent flyer programme. The channel will also enhance the booking and servicing experience for consultants by providing additional information at point of sale.

Travelstart, Tourvest Travel Services (TTS) and Club Travel are some of the agencies that have already registered for Qantas Channel.

While some agents are nervous about the introduction of the new system, they will always have the option of using the traditional GDS booking system or NDC within one environment, says Sharon Schierhout, yield manager of Club Travel. Sharon says the new platform allows Club Travel to track the sales of ancillary products and she hopes that agents can be rewarded for these sales in the future.

Tracey van den Berg, corporate communications and events manager of TTS, says the biggest advantage of the channel is the accessibility of fare content that would otherwise not be available to them.

“Operationally, our ticket, refunds and fare agents can process changes and refunds through the GDS instead of logging into an airline’s back office, which allows for automation at no extra cost to us,” says Candice May, supply and product manager of Travelstart. She adds that Travelstart’s direct call centre agents won’t have to pass on the NDC fee to customers.