Travelport Sees A Passage To India

by Michele McDonald

IndiGo is now India’s largest airline by number of passengers carried. Photo: Laurent ERRERA

Airline agreements with GDS companies don’t usually attract much attention, but Travelport’s deal with IndiGo, a low-cost carrier in India, has some notable features.

IndiGo is now India’s largest airline by number of passengers carried. And India is now the third-largest GDS market in the world.

This is IndiGo’s first GDS agreement; since its founding in 2006, its clientele has booked the carrier online. Can Travelport woo them to the other side?

India’s “burgeoning middle class” will help, Gordon Wilson chief executive officer of Travelport, said.

Speaking with Travel Market Report after the company’s third-quarter earnings call, Wilson noted that many members of that growing class are business travelers who use travel agents.

They also use IndiGo, which has high reliability. “It works,” Wilson said.

He said IndiGo is connecting with Travelport via application programming interface (API), so there are no changes in agents’ booking processes. 

India was dominated by Abacus International, the former joint venture of Sabre and a consortium of airlines that is now wholly owned by Sabre. It is one of several countries in Asia where Travelport sees growth opportunities.

In Indonesia, for example, Travelport just signed three large agencies, all well-established and “progressive in their use of technology,” Wilson said. And they do business in the fourth most populous nation in the world. 

On the other side of the globe, the sluggish U.S. market continues to be a drag, particularly since Travelport is still feeling the effects of the “rolloff” of bookings from Orbitz, once its largest customer for GDS services. 

International revenue was up 9% year over year but was down 2% in the U.S. If Orbitz is not taken into account, U.S. revenue was up 4%.

At the moment, Wilson said, U.S. booking activity is slowed by the imminent election, a phenomenon that happens every four years but is generating more than the usual “uncertainty” this year.

Travelport reported net income of $20.8 million for the third quarter, up from $3.7 million for the 2015 quarter. Revenues were $590.7 million, up from $559.8 million.

Travel Commerce Platform segments totaled 83.9 million, flat with third quarter 2015.

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