Millennium Post

AI eyes Rs 3,000 crore savings in 6 yrs from single GDS platform

Mumbai: Loss-making Air India, which is looking at ways to cut costs and boost revenues, Wednesday said it expects to save Rs 3,000 crore over the next six years by migrating to a single ticket sale and distribution platform, a senior airline official said.

In October, UK-based firm Travelport bagged the contract for Air India's domestic ticket distribution services replacing Amadeus.

Following Travelport coming into the play, the national carrier removed its inventory from the Amedeus network Tuesday.

"Migrating to a single global distribution system will help us save as much as Rs 3,000 crore over the next six years, which will be a substantial saving for us," the official said.

Air India's domestic and international flights will continue to be sold through Travelport, and other GDS providers like Sabre and Abacus.

However, from January 1, 2020, domestic flights will be exclusively distributed through Travelport.

Significantly, Travelport is the business partner of a leading domestic budget carrier.

Earlier last month, travel industry bodies TAAI and TAFI had urged the Air India management not to discontinue the inventory from other existing GDS providers and had even written to civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu on the issue.

"Easy access to Air India's inventory and its availability, by the agencies in India and overseas, is extremely important to enable the sale of airline inventory.

Due to this recent initiative of Air India, this will now be limited and this will negatively impact airlines sales," the associations had said in the letter.

"...the GDS cost is not as important as a seat sale.

To lose out on the sale of a seat implies huge losses compared to the the saving on GDS distribution," it had said.

The Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) had also opposed the move.

The Air India official, however, defended the move saying, "The airline has taken all necessary steps in migrating to another GDS. We have transferred the passenger name records (PNRs) as per the applicability."

Sitting on a debt pile of Rs 55,000 crore, Air India is staying afloat on a bailout package extended by the previous UPA regime in 2012.

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