GDS travel agency air bookings down 62% from 2019

Airline tickets sold by travel agencies through the global distribution system are recovering much more slowly than those for hotel bookings, according to data disclosed by Saber shows.

The distribution and technology provider says gross air bookings through the GDS in May were 62% lower than in May 2019.

Hotel transactions fell about 35% over the same period, Saber said in a regulatory filing.

The number of passengers boarded through Saber’s accommodation systems was lower in May 2021 by 44% compared to May 2019.

Saber says the numbers continue to “reflect the number of COVID-19 cases, cumulative and daily vaccination rates, and regional travel restrictions.”

The filing continues: “As COVID-19 vaccines continued to be delivered, we saw continued sequential improvement in our key volume metrics in May 2021 compared to April and the first quarter of 2021.

“The improvement in our key volume indicators continued to be largely driven by recovering trends in domestic leisure travel.”

The lowest point in Saber’s activity tracking since 2019 came in mid-April last year, when flight bookings through travel agencies and passengers boarded were 95% lower than those of the same period in 2019.

During the tepid start to some travel operations between July and the end of 2020, gross air bookings were still down 80-85%.

Willie R. Golden