Chinese LCC embraces travel agents for international expansion

TD Guest Writer

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Spring Airlines placed an order for 60 new aircraft last year
Spring Airlines placed an order for 60 new aircraft last year

China’s largest low-cost carrier, Spring Airlines, has committed to making its fares available to international travel agents as it embarks on a new phase of expansion.

The Shanghai-based airline has formed a new partnership with Amadeus to work with the international travel trade, adopting the technology company’s Amadeus Ticketless Access solution and distributing its fares to agents via the GDS.

Effective immediately, Spring’s content is available to Amadeus-connected travel agents in Hong Kong, Japan, Macau and Taiwan, and will be rolled out worldwide by the end of the year.

“We have big ambitions to expand both regionally and internationally, and the travel agency channel is a critical component to supporting that growth,” said Wang Zhenghua, chairman of Spring Airlines.

“We are pleased to partner with Amadeus to give the world’s largest network of travel agencies greater access to our low fares, which we expect to translate into increased flight bookings. We are confident in Amadeus’ position as a global leader to help us embrace a bigger role in the international market, bringing more travellers into China.”
At a time when airlines around the world are scrambling to make inroads into the Chinese air travel market, Spring is setting its sights on the international market. It expanded its international capacity by 165% in the first 10 months of 2015, and capped off the year with the placement of an order for 60 new Airbus A320 aircraft.

Filling those aircraft will be critical, and the airline is now planning to harness the power of travel agencies to achieve that. Spring’s adoption of Amadeus Ticketless Access will enable Amadeus-connected travel agencies to search, process and book the airline’s fares in real-time, on the same screen as all other airlines. And the fares displayed via Amadeus will also have parity with all other third party distribution channels.

“Spring Airlines is often lauded as the most successful budget carrier in China and a model for efficiency,” said Hazem Hussein, Amadeus Asia Pacific’s executive vice president of airline commercial. “By giving our travel agency partners an easier way to book Spring Airlines flights, we are enabling them to cater to growing demand for low-cost travel to and from China. Likewise, the partnership will pave the way for increased yield for the airline, and is a testament to our ongoing commitment to help Chinese travel players expand their reach to the global market.”

LCCs around the world have started embracing the travel trade in recent years, with airlines like Ryanair and AirAsia making their fares available via the GDS. According to Amadeus, travel agency GDS bookings for LCCs increased 11% in 2015.
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