Further market opening urged

08:53, September 14, 2010      

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By Tu Lei

Tight government oversight of the air travel industry has prompted the head of Amadeus IT Group SA, one of the world's largest travel reservation and ticket processing companies, to call for further opening of the market sector during an interview with the Global Times in Shanghai Sunday.

Amadeus' market share in China is still "fairly limited," due to the "cautious attitude" of the government towards the air travel industry, said David Jones, president and CEO of Amadeus.

Jones said at present, his company faces one key obstacle: obtaining authorization to issue tickets in the Chinese market.

"We have a little bit of business, but at the moment, we cannot, for example, issue air tickets, so you will not be able to do any bookings," said Jones, adding the firm has been in talks with both Chinese and European Union authorities on the issue for several years.

Jones made the remarks ahead of the China Travel Distribution Summit slated to begin in Beijing tomorrow.

Breaking into ticket issuing has been difficult for Madrid, Spain-based Amadeus, as currently the Civil Aviation Administration of China maintains the only authorized system for this service, known as TravelSky. That company, TravelSky Technology Limited, offers aviation information technology services including inventory control and computer reservation system services.

One industry insider says TravelSky will not give up its market control.

"It is hard for foreign firms to break into this sector of the Chinese market due to the monopolized status of TravelSky," said the anonymous travel agency official. With a net profit of 480 million yuan ($71.11 million) in the first half of this year, the incentives to maintain that monopoly are great, she said.

"If the market is opened, it will threaten the monopolization status of TravelSky ... and some of TravelSky's shareholders are domestic carriers, and they feel they must protect themselves."

Source: Global Times


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