Home-grown South African carrier, Lift Airlines, is about to make waves in the SA market – direct bookings on GDS will start soon, says CEO, Jonathan Ayache, starting with Amadeus.
Up to now, Lift ticketing has been available on GDS, but through Hahn Air’s X1-Air solution. Having a full presence on the GDS will make it easy for agents to book.
Why is Lift rolling out this direct GDS agent-distribution channel strategy at a time when so many airlines are trying to drive agents away from these very channels?
Ayache said agents had told the airline what they want.
“We work closely with agents, and they have up to now been using the log-in section of the Lift website. This makes it easy for them to tap into Lift’s flexibility. Making changes is easy and seamless.
“We already have a meaningful share of bookings from travel agents and we don’t underestimate them. We appreciate the support we get from the industry.
“We’re opening all the channels. It’s clear – agents want to book on the channel they prefer,” he told Tourism Update.
Domestic fares to rise?
For airlines across the globe, green issues are the big issues. These can be difficult areas for South African carriers to address, given the country’s geographic position, its vast distances and the lack of alternatives to air travel. But sustainability goes beyond operational issues.
“Making sure our aircraft are full – that makes flights more sustainable. But, in South Africa we need sustainable pricing. Fares have dropped by 11% since Lift entered the market in 2020. Where fares are now is not sustainable for airlines; we need a correction.”
In an environment where domestic airfares should rise rather than fall, Ayache said it would still be possible to find cheaper fares.
“The cheapest fares are always those booked in advance. Agents can book their clients early – if the client needs to change the date, name or cancel outright, Lift’s flexibility means that there are no fees to do this.”