Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Regional service will boost online air booking

It has been a good year for the Indian aviation industry. In 2017, India rose to the second spot globally, replacing Germany, in terms of air bookings made on the Global Distribution System (GDS), according to Travelport.

The New York Stock Exchange-listed company provides distribution, technology, payment and other solutions for the $7-trillion global travel and tourism industry.

GDS is a complex, technology-based distribution network used in the travel industry to aggregate millions of travel options from hundreds of thousands of travel providers, including airlines, hotels, cruise liners and car rental agencies.

In an exclusive chat with BusinessLine, Gordon Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Travelport, explains what the technology means. Edited excerpts:

How does India stand in the global universe of GDS?

The corner was turned in 2017. The relative size of India versus Germany, which it replaced, is growing. While the Indian market is growing at 14 per cent, Germany is growing in single digits. Travelport itself is growing at 20 per cent,

Out of the 55 million annual air bookings (online) in India, how many will be domestic and how many international?

It is probably two-third domestic and the rest international.

Is there any way of finding out whether these are new flyers or the same people booking multiple times?

That I am afraid I do not know. We obviously process the bookings but in terms of whether it is the same passenger flying we do not look. We do not look at whether it is the same passengers flying five times instead of three.

Obviously, a lot of it must be new passengers coming in. When the RCS (Regional Connectivity Scheme for regional air connectivity) kicks off, there will more stimulation of passengers; those who did the journey by train earlier will now fly.

But not all bookings are made in GDS, as many still book offline. The number of bookings made on GDS is growing If you take IndiGo, which has a 40 per cent market share, it came live on our system in November last year. We are getting more bookings through IndiGo, and there is room for growth.
13/12/17 Ashwini Phadnis/Business Line