Flight Centre buys majority stake in technology firm TPConnects

Flight Centre Travel Group (FLT) has taken a majority stake in Dubai-based travel technology firm TPConnects Technologies to allow it to offer a wider choice of airfares to clients.

The Australia-based travel company, which owns the corporate travel brands FCM Global Travel Management and Corporate Traveller, has raised its shareholding in TPConnects from 22.5 per cent to 70 per cent following the deal. Financial details of the transaction were not revealed.

TPConnects is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) specialist which aggregates airline content from multiple sources, including GDSs, low-cost carriers and the growing number of NDC-enabled booking channels. The company gives agencies access to these airfares by integrating its TPC Universal API.

Melanie Waters-Ryan, FLT’s leisure and supply chief executive officer, said: “TPC has been at the heart of the evolution in airfare distribution during the past decade, which is now engrained 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.”

Flight Centre, which first invested in TPConnects in 2020, added that increasing its stake would also “fast-track” future developments and allow the travel firm to “be ahead of our competitors’ comparable solutions”. 

Other benefits of the deal for Flight Centre include lower costs through avoiding surcharges on GDS bookings, as well as improved margins and access to NDC-based incentives from airlines.

TPConnects, which was set up in 2012, works with several carriers on NDC solutions including Singapore Airlines, Oman Air, Gulf Air and Saudi Arabian Airlines. 

Co-founder Rajendran Vellapalath added: “FLT’s investment comes at an important time, given the rapid changes that are taking place in the distribution of air content and with the development of the Airline Retailing Maturity Index, which IATA is now pioneering.

“The strong relationship between TPC and FLT will ensure that both companies remain at the forefront of this ongoing change and play a lead role in the future evolution of distribution.”

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