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Amadeus IT Holding today held its annual Shareholders´ General Meeting in Madrid, and shortly before the event started Luis Maroto, President & CEO, briefed the media on the milestones and achievements of 2014. Mr Maroto also addressed the new commercial strategy announced by Lufthansa less than a month ago.
The top executive of Amadeus referenced in his speech the growth of both the Distribution and IT Solutions businesses in the year ended on December 31, 2014. During the last fiscal year, air bookings showed a growth “higher than the distribution industry as a whole”, and “milestone contracts” for the Airline IT business were signed with Southwest Airlines, Swiss Air, Vistara and Thomas Cook among others.
Mr Maroto also recalled the acquisitions of AirIT and UFIS in the airport IT segment, and the agreements with InterContinental Hotel Group and BeNe Rail “to develop innovative platforms for content distribution and customer management”.
The President & CEO of Amadeus then went on to talk about Lufthansa’s new commercial strategy, which includes a surcharge of 16 euros per ticket booked through the Global Distribution Systems (GDS). Mr. Maroto stressed that Amadeus “respects the commercial decisions” of the airline, but stated that by imposing the surcharge Lufthansa “will be penalizing the traveller, who will now have less transparency when searching for flights”.
Mr. Maroto stressed that Amadeus “does not agree with the calculations” by Lufthansa to come up with the 16 euro figure, and reminded the audience that “it is common industry knowledge that the investment in digital advertising needed to attract a customer to an airline´s website is close to 15 euros per booking”.
The top executive of Amadeus explained that GDSs “bring airlines a yield 40% higher than any other channel, including the direct one” because of business travellers booking their flights through travel management companies (TMCs), which are users of the GDS. He recalled how GDSs were a creation of airlines to outsource the “huge investment” needed to develop the mass distribution systems, and added that the same model was used when “airlines also trusted Amadeus for a second round of technological innovation of crucial importance, the passenger service systems (PSS)”.
“There is little space for doubt about the efficiency of the services we provide to airlines”, said Mr. Maroto, who added that airlines are now facing travellers who are more demanding than ever, and “looking for a more personalised experience and integrated services…Lufthansa´s surcharge goes in the opposite direction”, he concluded.
The President & CEO of Amadeus ended his speech by saying that, in order to achieve “the shared concerns to improve customer service while, at the same time, increasing profitability”, Amadeus believes in a model that pursues “generating higher revenues,and putting the traveller at the centre of the travel industry ecosystem”.
You can see Luis Maroto's full remarks here .