May 15, 2018

Has Travelport’s GDS business fallen too far behind?

Travelport has slowly but consistently lost market share since 2006. Initially, Amadeus was the primary beneficiary, but more recently both Sabre and Amadeus have been benefiting from Travelport’s decline.

Looking ahead it’s hard to imagine Travelport turning the tide. It’s a scale game and competitors are executing well. Even from a distance both financial scale and financial performance look problematic. If the Travelport model was that of a young and fast disruptor the scale and performance issues could be ignored. Travelport is a traditional incumbent in a mature industry – the numbers say it all. The likelihood of a structural change in the GDS business over the next 24 months is high.

The untold wildcard in the macro GDS landscape story is TravelSky. This China based GDS has all the scale advantages and more of any competitor. They also have a lock on what will be the worlds largest aviation market and what is already the worlds largest outbound market. All the western GDS have courted Travelsky over the past 10 years - including Travelport.

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