Flight Center nabs majority stake in travel tech company – Travel Weekly

Flight Center has bolstered its airfares offering by boosting its investment in travel tech business TP Connects (TPC).

The company has agreed to increase its equity interest from 22.5 per cent to 70 per cent in the Dubai based software business, which has been at the forefront of ongoing changes to traditional distribution models.

The travel giant initially invested in TPC in February 2020 with a view to supercharging the development of TPC’s technology platform, which aims to shape the future of travel distribution by aggregating content from multiple sources including:

  • Global distribution systems, which airlines have traditionally utilized to distribute air content and which have continued to deliver Flight Centre’s largest source of airline content
  • Direct feeds from low-cost carriers
  • Emerging supplier-direct channels, specifically airlines’ New Distribution Capability (NDC) offerings; and
  • Other third-party NDC aggregators

TPC provides a centralized NDC Gateway that services customers in both the aviation and travel agency sectors.

The business offers travel agents a range of solutions to access aggregated air content via the TPC universal application programming interface (API), which can be directly integrated into any user interface, or via agency B2B platforms such as the NDCmarketplace portal.

For airline customers, TPC offers advanced NDC solutions via its middleware (API) offer and order management services.

“The traditional airline distribution model is being disrupted, with growth in direct connections between buyers and sellers, the proliferation of new commercial models, the rise of new entrant technology providers and continued enhancements in connectivity,” Melanie Waters-Ryan, Flight Center’s leisure and supply CEO said.

“Within this ever-changing distribution landscape, we have taken proactive steps to complement our very strong GDS partnerships and ensure we can source and deliver the best content from multiple sources to our leisure and corporate customers globally by investing in TPC.

“TPC has been at the heart of the evolution in airfare distribution during the past decade, is now ingrained in our business and is integral to the new operating systems and platforms we are delivering in both the leisure and corporate sectors.

“By investing further in the business, we have greater influence over future developments and the product’s ongoing evolution, while ensuring we continue to deliver the widest choice of airfares to our customers. Greater influence over future developments will also provide FLT with a better opportunity to be ahead of our competitors’ comparable solutions.”

Other potential benefits include:

  • Lower costs – the ability to cost-effectively access and book a broad range of NDC content via TPC and avoid the surcharges that some airlines are now applying to bookings made via GDSs. Flight Center can also access TPC content at a lower rate than it pays to aggregation competitors
  • Margin improvement, through access to TPC’s margin management tools and ability to control decisions relating to where air content is sourced from
  • Access to NDC-related incentives that airlines are increasingly offering to their travel agency partners
  • Enhanced ability to offer and distribute exclusive private fares for airlines; and
  • Access to new revenue streams through TPC’s offerings to airlines and other travel agency groups

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