Kolkata travel agents protest against AI's single GDS platform move



Protesting against Air India's decision to shift exclusively to a single global distribution system (GDS) platform, travel agents in the city on Tuesday said this move by the national carrier is going to be a "setback to its recovery".

According to them, Air India has decided to use "Travelport as their exclusive GDS and is giving up the rest of systems of Amadeus and Sabre".

"All travel companies usually use one of the multiple GDS platforms available in the market depending upon multiple factors. Restricting the Air India ticket inventory only on one particular GDS will result in a reduction of the distribution capability of the airline by about 40 per cent, thereby, drastically affecting the revenue of the airline," Travel Agents Federation of Eastern India Chairman Anil Punjabi said.

GDS is a computer network and reservation tool as it holds real time data on airline inventory, fares, availability and other such details and passes it on the travel agents to allow them to make bookings.

"By restricting it to only one provider, it might reduce costs but will reduce the catchment area of passengers to only members of that GDS. With this, Air India's revival will take a hit. The move by Air India is going to be yet another setback to its recovery," Travel Agents Association Eastern India Chairman Devesh Agarwal said.

The protest march by agents was held on Tuesday at Air India city office.

Explaining the details of their problems, they said many travel agencies in India have been selling a large share of Air India seats on the GDS with whom the carrier has disconnected or effectively withdrawn its domestic inventory.

Restricting to one GDS platform means that if a travel agent wants to book a ticket he or she has to be on Travelport GDS, they said.

"For the agencies including those who do not have access or frequently sell the airline's seats on the GDS preferred by Air India, it is evident that selling seats of the carrier would not be easy proposition and thus they may opt for other airlines for their customers," the statement said.

Like most full-service airlines, Air India had been using multiple GDS systems so far, they said.

The carrier has been reeling under financial challenges and instead of finding ways to increase its seat sales via an easy access through GDS channels, this move by the national carrier is "shocking", the industry bodies said. - IANS