Flight Plan

Regional service will boost online air booking

Ashwini Phadnis | Updated on March 10, 2018

Gordon Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Travelport

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.

Looking forward, how do you see the traffic growing. Even in terms of revenue what will it mean for airlines and GDS?

I would expect that from Travelport’s point of view the level of domestic bookings will increase dramatically because of RCS and the number of planes coming in. Secondly, IndiGo will also drive the growth. Over time, a lot of agencies like Makemytrip.com will switch and make bookings through Travelport because it is simpler and easier.

What are the booking numbersin the US and in Germany, which India has replaced?

In the US, about 300 million air bookings were done, and in Germany it’s about 53-53 million this year.

Is there any market that is closing in as far as GDS bookings are concerned?

Not in absolute bookings. But there is plenty of growth. Indonesia is giving others a run for their money in growth terms, but its actual market size is not in the top 10.

Can you explain the concept of one air booking?

A passenger when he books, say between Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Chennai, Delhi-Bengaluru routes, then it is called one air booking.

Published on December 12, 2017

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