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GDSs will make more bookings over the next few years as more no-frills airlines decide to distribute through this channel.
Hamish Broom, Sabre’s commercial director airline distribution EMEA, said that an increasing number of no-frills carriers were now distributing through the GDSs.
“Traditional low cost airlines want to reach higher revenue-earning passengers – such as business travellers – and the GDS does this,” said Broom. “But Ryanair is not one of these carriers as they are sticking to their low-cost model.”
Conversely, Broom added that traditional legacy airlines were now introducing elements of the no-frills business model through the sale of ancillary products.
“A lot of established airlines want to do more merchandising to offer things such as seat selection and lounge access,” he said. “We are here to facilitate all of this and the new technology will enable this to happen.”
Broom also stressed the importance of “transparency” of airfares to allow effective comparison shopping.
“There needs to be fare transparency and comparison shopping,” said Broom. “Enabling fare transparency gives people the choice of fares and to see what’s included. Safeguarding that ability to shop and choose in a neutral environment keeps costs down for everybody.”
Some trade organisations fear that IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) which aims to “tailor-make” airfares for individual customers could make it harder to compare prices between carriers.
Broom said Sabre “welcomed innovation” and wanted to work with trade bodies including IATA.
“I’m very confident about the future of the GDSs and 100 per cent confident that in five years there will be more transactions going through the GDSs,” he added.
“The technology is now touching more consumers and there are more options for suppliers of travel.
“What we are seeing today is an electronic marketplace – an Ebay or Amazon for travel. Buyers want to be able to shop more effectively and have the ability to search on price, brand or convenience.
“This means that it is essential to have comparison shopping for flights. Access is crucial so that it can be done anywhere, at any time and on any device.”