Travel Industry News at TravelNewsAsia.com since 1997
Thu, 27 April 2023

Air India Strengthens Partnership with Sabre

(22/05/23)  Air India has signed a multi-year deal with Sabre that enables travel agents and corporations around the world to access its fares through the GDS’ extensive global travel marketplace.

In addition to the distribution services, the Star Alliance member is utilizing Sabre’s consultancy expertise to help determine optimal routes for its existing and expanding fleet.

Air India content is expected to be available from 4 May 2023 through Sabre’s travel marketplace.

“The Indian travel market is back, and it’s coming back strong,” said Nipun Aggarwal, Chief Commercial & Transformation Officer, Air India. “So, we’re delighted to have re-established, and enhanced, our relationship with Sabre at this transformative time for Air India, and the wider Indian travel marketplace. This long-term global distribution partnership will support our ambitious growth plans while paving the ground for our transition towards a more dynamic, merchandising-focused model, designed to unlock the value of Air India’s products and services.”

Air India Boeing 787-8. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.
Air India Boeing 787-8. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com

Now under the ownership of the Tata Group, Air India, as part of its five-year transformation plan, is substantially expanding its fleet and network, revamping its customer proposition, and improving reliability in operations to emerge as one of the world’s premier carriers.

“As well as coming together once more under a new GDS agreement, we’re excited to be working hand-in-hand with Sabre’s incredibly knowledgeable consultancy team on the development of a clean-sheet, long-term network plan,” added Mr Aggarwal. “We are confident this will strengthen Air India’s position in our domestic and international routes, and help us to become more competitive on the global aviation stage. We are delighted to further strengthen our relationship with Sabre, and look forward to closer collaboration in the coming years.”

While historically, airlines building a schedule for the next season have relied on previous plans, clean-sheet scheduling gives carriers the ultimate flexibility to develop a more optimal schedule for operational efficiency, increased reliability, enhanced revenue, and traveller satisfaction.

Sabre’s consultancy work with Air India includes an in-depth market evaluation, the development of new hub and schedule structural designs, and detailed planning of route network and capacity over a 10-year horizon, as well as the optimization of fleet assignment across its system.

“We are confident Air India will gain substantial value by having access and reach to Sabre’s global network of travel agencies, in conjunction with benefiting from our route planning expertise,” said Roshan Mendis, Chief Commercial Officer, Sabre Travel Solutions. “And, our travel agency partners in India and around the world will gain greatly from having access to Air India’s products and services.”

India's Aviation Market - Exclusive 4K Video Interview with Roshan Mendis, EVP and CCO of Sabre Travel Solutions

To learn more about India's aviation market and what the above deal that Sabre has signed with Air India means to the company, Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com visited Sabre's office in Richmond, England to speak with Roshan Mendis, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Sabre Travel Solutions.

In this exclusive interview, filmed on 17 May 2023, we discuss the aviation industry's development in India, how an airline decides which routes to launch when it makes such massive aircraft orders, where India is in terms of the use and development of NDC as a retail tool, the state of travel agencies in the country, how Sabre is using AI to enhance its solutions, and whether enough is being done to ensure that there are sufficient qualified personnel to power the aviation sector's very ambitious growth targets.

We also talk about the Air India deal, which products the airline will be using, what percentage of Sabre's business comes from India and how Roshan foresees that growing, whether the company has any plans to expand further in the country, and why there has been such a rapid recovery in air travel despite the high air fares. All that and much, much more in the exclusive video and podcast interview below.

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