Travelport buoyant on India

Travelport is completely redefining the way of doing travel business by acting as a bridge between the travel agencies, travel providers, corporations and developers. Chris Ramm, Vice President—Asia Pacific, Travelport, shares how NDC is set to be a game changer for aviation.

Nisha Verma

Travelport closed 2018 on a good note as a result of publicly enhanced growth in terms of revenue and management. Chris Ramm, Vice President—Asia Pacific, Travelport, said, “2019 will be a year of change for the industry and not just for Travelport. We are publicly listed on the NYSE, but currently we are in the process of acquisition. However, everything else still remains the same. We have the same relationships with customers and are working hard to deliver their requirements.”

NDC hasn’t received much traction in the India market, claimed Ramm. “At Travelport, we have been at the forefront of all the technical developments with regards to NDC. We were the first GDS to have all booking capability, first to have a Level 3-certified agent and the first GDS to make booking with agents in our system,” he shared.

Travelport already has connections with airlines that are set to multiply this year. He explained, “2020 is the year when NDC would hit its scale. Then, we have the IATA leader board where 21 carriers are expected to put 20 per cent of their indirect volume via IATA NDC enabled APIs by the end of 2020. With that, one can imagine how much work would happen. One thing that’s worth stating is that although those 21 airlines have made that commitment, there is yet to be an airline from India including some big customers that are potentially missing; we expect them to join suit in the years to come.”

Why Indian carriers and agents are still apprehensive about NDC still remains to be figured out. Ramm clarified, stating, “It’s not necessarily apprehension. To a certain extent, there is a sanity in waiting, which allows them to see what works instead of being the first in taking a risk. What we have seen till date is that the 20 or 30 airlines that have invested in NDC will probably have some sort of connection in 2019. They all have a slightly different flavour and a slightly different way. We don’t yet know which one of those ways is going to be more successful. Hence, the Indian carriers’ apprehensions might work very positively for them to see what works and what doesn’t, and hopefully they can focus on that when they are ready.”

Ancillary products have been at the forefront for the last five to seven years. “Agents clearly have a desire to access the full content offering of an airline and it’s really important that they have the ability to book that in a system. It’s always been important that we offer the full content available from an airline to an agency, and we’ve also been working before NDC was at the level it is today,” informed Ramm.

He insisted that NDC would bring about changes that would give travel agents access to much more content than before. “If the airlines make available most of the technologies, there is improved sales capabilities. They would still be able to connect through Travelport using one of our systems and have access to the airline content. If the airlines want to provide something that was not available earlier, we can provide it to agents,” claimed Ramm.

Ramm listed three trends that guide the travel industry currently. “The penetration of mobiles and use of mobile phones are very high in India as far as the travel booking process is concerned. Around 80 per cent of people surveyed in India said that they use a mobile device to draw inspiration. That’s an opportunity for us to tap into to make sure that we make most of that technology. Secondly, voice is leading the way in many other industries.

Next, NDC is set to usher in new sales capabilities, potential for personalisation and play a significant role for the future of Travelport,” shared Ramm.

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