Sub-sectors must work together if aviation is to improve as a whole, says travel technology chief.

Sean Menke

How the market evolves is a key consideration for airline chief executives, according to Sabre CEO Sean Menke.

It is therefore a prime concern for travel technology suppliers too as they look to meet their customers’ needs in an increasingly dynamic industry.

Speaking at the AIR Symposium in Rome, the travel technology boss cited the rise of low-cost carriers (LCCs) from 10% of the market in the early 2000s to 30% today as one driver of change in recent years. 

Full-service carriers have gone through a series of adjustments—aided by new technologies delivering greater efficiency—to better compete with LCCs. Oil prices, meanwhile, have a significant impact across the board, whether it is an increase or decrease.

The focus is on our customers’ needs but to do that properly we have to take a hard look at ourselves

For Sabre, such market developments mean advancing technology to deal with the different demands on a modern airline. New Distribution Capability (NDC) is a cornerstone of what Sabre is trying to achieve with the next generation of solutions. 

Menke said that collaboration is essential to implement NDC. “Everyone has to take responsibility,” he noted. “It is about trust and openness. That is what we’re focused on.”

All this does not mean travel technology companies are resting on their laurels. Sabre has 10,000 employees around the world and is recruiting talent from digital companies and other relevant industries. The executive management team is fresh-faced with the longest serving having been at the company for just four-and-a-half years.

“The focus is on our customers’ needs but to do that properly we have to take a hard look at ourselves,” Menke said.

And rather than fight for incremental gains in market share, the Sabre CEO believes the real question should be “how do we make the pie bigger?” That is the best way to serve all parties, including the end consumer, he said.

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