BA appears to be moving towards a resolution over its stance with the GDSs.
The airline has issued a statement confirming a new content deal with Travelport-owned Galileo (but not the soon-to-be-Travelport-owned Worldspan).
The short press release says the new "long-term, global full content agreement" will run for three years from 10 April 2007.
Discussions are apparently ongoing with Worldspan, Sabre Travel Network and Amadeus.
There are perhaps a few lines in the release that hint at the issue right at heart of the discussions experienced by all parties in recent weeks:
"The new opt-in programme offers travel agents in the UK and Ireland the opportunity to access all of British Airways' fare content that is made publicly available through the airline's sales channels, including BA.com."Ignoring the "travel agents in UK and Ireland" line - the deal is actually for agents elsewhere in the world, a BA press officer confirmed - the statement reveals BA's continued desire to push its content through an many non-GDS channels as possible.
Secondly, BA's Tiffany Hall says the agreement will "reduce the airline's distribution costs".
The airline's head of marketing and distribution sounds like she has got exactly what they wanted.
So it's champagne all-round, so far. BA gets the first of its deals; Galileo is just damn relieved to have signed.
However travel agents could be facing higher surcharges on some routes than they had under the former opt-in clause, says a source close to the new agreement.
Bets are on for which GDS signs next...
Kevin May, editor, Travolution