Business travel is bouncing back, Europe remains soft, some leisure sectors are picking up and Amadeus dodged a bullet big-time with its IPO earlier this year, CEO David Jones said at a briefing in Sydney this morning. Jones revealed if the public listing of the company on the Spanish stock exchange had been held just a week or two later it would not have got off the ground.

But launch it did – valuing Amadeus at 8bn Euro – and business has been good since. While tight with figures, Jones forecast strong growth across the business – especially the Altea airline tech platform. He was also confident about airfare sales to travel agents through its GDS … “We have been hearing for years that the GDS business is on its last legs but it continues doing very well.”

Jones also commented on the embarrassing failure of its Qantas reservations system technology in January this year, which left thousands of passengers stranded and the airline (a launch Altea customer) with a major PR problem. “We reached an agreement (compensation) with Qantas … we learned a couple of lessons and since then our record with Qantas has been very good. We had a very unfortunate period … from time to time things go wrong.”

Other notes…

  • GDP primary driver of travel
  • Western Europe still its strongest market for air bookings
  • Just under 50% but soft compared to other regions
  • Global bookings bouncing back but still short of 2007 peak
  • “There’s too much stress and tension between GDS industry and airline industry.”
  • Amadeus spent 1.25bn Euro on tech development between 2004 to 2009
  • By 2012 all Amadeus tech platform will be 100% Linux
  • “I stress that we are a technology company.”
  • Pax boarded by Altea up 41% yoy in March quarter
  • Has agreements with 47 Low Cost Carriers


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