I was reading a couple of interesting things on the weekend. One was a December publication from Boston Consulting Group that kept talking about BMI – rather than being about the airline British Midland it was actually about business model innovation (PDF) – it did mention Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Blue; not surprising given the influence BCG have had in Australian aviation and then their subsequent success in selling that story elsewhere.
Whilst that article was interesting, if you work in the industry and want to read a post that I could never dream of writing, then Jilted by JetBlue for Sabre, Navitaire strikes back written by Dennis Schaal comes with my highest recommendation. The closest I came to writing on this topic was referring to Sabre on ancillary revenue, or the reasons claimed by JetBlue for choosing Sabre over Navitaire, but Dennis has done a great job in getting Navitaire on the record and fighting back against the perception that after losses to Sabre on WestJet and JetBlue, New Skies couldn’t handle LCC’s that have evolved beyond their original LCC business model.
Part of the debate seems to be around selling ancillary items during the online booking flow, but I tend to suspect a bigger issue could be the impending importance of electronic miscellaneous documents and the need to be able to interact with the EMD servers of airline partners – this is potentially the big ancillary revenue story for 2011. And don’t underestimate the relevance of back office processes; when no ticket numbers are stored in the PNR it leads to operational and accounting processes being custom built for each airline – a similar story could be made about ATPCo feeds and interlining as well.
Probably the most well received post I’ve written in the past month was on the future of travel search, but the reason I mentioned that I could never do anything as impressive on the topic Dennis has written about is because my employment at Amadeus can involve competing against Sabre and on occasion Navitaire – this would give me zero credibility on a piece like his. That said, I definitely love reading it when someone else makes such a good go at it.