Friday, July 23, 2010

Amadeus Tailors Products To Attract More Budget Carriers

Travel/Distribution Systems

Aviation Daily Jul 23 , 2010 , p. 18
Neelam Mathews

As budget carriers realize there are spare seats at the back that need to be sold, they are increasingly accessing tools to manage inventory supplied by global distribution systems (GDSs).

The growth of budget carriers in the Asia-Pacific region is reason to celebrate, says Madrid-based GDS Amadeus, because they provide new opportunities for business. Amadeus is offering products such as Ticket Changer to automate the cumbersome process of reissuing a ticket.

Amadeus Ticketless Access also offers up-to-the-minute fare and flight information from ticketless carriers in displays alongside those of full-service airlines. In addition to customers AirAsia and EasyJet and many other budget carriers, Amadeus says airlines from the Philippines will join its list soon. It is also in talks with India’s major budget carriers.

One of the benefits of Ticketless Access is chargeable ancillary services, which diversify offerings and give a competitive edge to budget carriers. Ancillary revenues totaled $1.6 billion in 2006 and rose to $8 billion by 2008. The total "is now $10 billion,” says Peter Smith, VP Amadeus Asia-Pacific Business Solution Group. “Because ancillary services are not fully reflected, it is difficult for the customer to see the real price of the trip. There is now often road rage at airports,” he says.

Amadeus is developing the ancillary product that will be launched in Asia in 2011. “We are at the stage of looking at how to deploy the model,” says Smith.

With AirAsia closing in on Cathay Pacific Airways and Singapore Airlines in business, this product will prove beneficial to agents, adds Smith. “There is no doubt that Amadeus wants low-cost carriers in our GDS." Since the needs of budget carriers differ from those of full-service carriers,"'we provide commercially attractive [deals], technology and specialized solutions for budget airlines.”

Amadeus says it can provide budget carriers with cost-effective means of integrating with the GDS. “As many budget carriers go longer-haul, there is a need for customers to go to the travel agent. This has opened a brand-new market,” says Smith. He adds that, over time, long-haul budget carriers will also need to connect to network carriers to form strategic alliances.

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