As Air India decides to withdraw access to domestic inventory on one GDS platform, TAFI, TAAI & industry leaders warn of negative impact on airlines’ sales
Air India has declared that effective December 4, 2018, the carrier will disconnect its domestic inventory from one of the Global Distribution System (GDS) and further withdraw the inventory access from another GDS in 2019, thereby continuing its inventory distribution exclusively with only one GDS platform.
This has been done without any discussion or consultation with the trade bodies in ticketing such as the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) and Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI).
In turn, the above trade associations and industry leaders from big ticketing companies have written to Pradeep Singh Kharola, IAS, Chairman and Managing Director of the national carrier and notified the airline of the threat to its survival.
A copy of the letter has also been sent to the Minister of Civil Aviation, Minister of Finance, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Revenue Secretary, and the Secretary at Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Earlier, when the representatives from the ticketing trade met with the senior officials from the airline, they were informed that the carrier had to take this decision to save on the high GDS costs.
The trade partners have categorically stated in the letter that dumping the GDS cost is not as important as a seat sale. The GDS that connects substantial percentage of agencies is being eliminated from the access of Air India’s domestic inventory. Losing out on the sale of a seat implies huge losses compared to the withdrawal of one crucial GDS distribution. The transition to another GDS platform is not easy and in cases, not possible at all. Moreover, it is not easy for the ticketing staff in travel agencies to learn and operate a new GDS instantly.
Trade representatives have also suggested that it would be prudent to invite all the existing GDS companies and offer the same levels of pay-out which would not impact on the challenges agencies will face in selling Air India inventory.