Travel news for the trade community

Canny regional carrier signs with Sabre to power domestic growth

With the news that Sounds Air has signed up to a long-term distribution deal with Sabre Corporation, the canny New Zealand domestic carrier is showing its ambition as the appeal of Kiwi holidays continues to grow in popularity.

Discussing the new agreement, which will enable the airline to expand its sales and agency reach though Sabre’s global distribution system (GDS), Andrew Crawford, managing director of Sounds Air said: “Sabre delivers innovative technology that is instrumental to achieving our growth plans, as we continue to set high objectives for ourselves and maintain our passion for the people and places we serve.

“This has been a long-term project between Sabre and our service provider, Takeflite Solutions, and the support we have had from both parties has been exceptional.”

Based in Blenheim, New Zealand as a gateway to the islands of the Marlborough Sounds, Sounds Air links the North and South Islands with scheduled flights to nine destinations, supporting the country’s growing demand for domestic travel and offering routes that cater to both locals and tourists.

With annual tourism consistently on the rise in New Zealand, the airline has recorded a 75% increase in passenger bookings over the past three years. Its connection to the Sabre travel marketplace will further benefit Sounds Air as it continues to grow its operations.

“Sabre is delighted to partner with Sounds Air as they continue to expand in New Zealand. We aim to support their operations by providing Sounds Air with access to our innovative tools, including AdvanceConnect and Guaranteed Ticketing,” said Rakesh Narayanan, vice president of airline business for Sabre Travel Network in APAC.

“Adding Sounds Air’s regional content to the Sabre platform will enable greater travel agency sales and broaden its distribution reach,” Narayanan concluded.

The announcement comes at a good time for Sounds Air, which recently celebrated its 30th birthday, who like other local flight operators, such as Air Chathams and Barrier Air, have the chance to snatch a bigger piece of the county’s regional market, as Air New Zealand (ANZ) divest itself of local routes — such as the Kapiti to Auckland service, which ended on 3rd April.

Indeed, Sounds Air has already taken operation of the former ANZ services between Wellington, Westport and Taupo, and between Blenheim and Christchurch.

By observing which other nuggets ANZ give up, and with Sabre tech powering its distribution, Sounds Air is well placed to take a step-up and become a real player in this hotly contested market.

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