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Travel industry news

08 Sep 2016

BY Jennifer Morris


Emirates boss: GDS systems are 'not fit for purpose'

The boss of Emirates has branded  the existing GDS systems "not fit for purpose" and some intermediaries as "parasites".

Tim Clark (Emirates)

Why GDSs are 'not fit for purpose'

Speaking at the Aviation Festival in London, Sir Tim Clark said Emirates was developing its own digital retailing platform.

Asked about airlines being able to “own the customer experience”, Sir Tim said: "In the way we go about developing our own digital retailing platform - the notion that we should have intermediaries accessing our range of products and charging us for the use of their service, it should probably be the other way around.

"As we move to ‘disintermediarise’ the business and strip costs out of distribution and consumer reach, it is incumbent upon us to create a process so that when someone thinks they want to fly somewhere they will think of the airline, so intermediaries no longer have a place.

"That is fighting talk but the fact of the matter is there are too many parasites in the business who are slowing our business and taking value from it because their own business models need to do that.

"That affects what we do and the price of our goods.

"The trick is to present your product in such a way that customers won’t go to anyone else, they’ll come straight to us if they want to fly with Emirates. They won’t go to metasearch.

Asked about Emirates’ processes, Sir Tim added: "The digital disruption that we all face is staring us in the face.

"I began to fret not about customer-facing systems but what about back of house systems and distribution systems?

"What I set out to do is try and deconstruct the whole company’s processes and then reconstruct those on the digital platforms.

"A digital disruption group will come along and redesign all the digital platforms that exist, processes that will streamline by up to 50% what we do.

"Essentially it’ll take cost out of the business, it will allow us to be far more efficient with back of house as well as front of house.

"I’ve been banging the drum about the way we are, as an industry constrained by the legacy distribution systems.

"I’m not satisfied that the GDS systems of distribution on offer are fit for purpose in the next five or 10 years, particularly in light of what’s been going on in the digital world.

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