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Jim Davidson, Farelogix president & CEO, among BTN's 2018 25 Most Influential

The article was written by Elizabeth West, reporter, and was published in Business Travel News on December 12, 2018. To view the original article click here.

When BTN first identified Davidson as among the 2018 Most Influential, there was one thing we didn't know, that Farelogix was in late-stage talks to be acquired by global distribution system provider Sabre. Even without that piece, Davidson was a shoe-in for the list, thanks to the momentum behind the International Air Transport Association's New Distribution Capability and the role his company has played in that momentum: When American Airlines, Emirates, Lufthansa Group and Qantas Airways pipe NDC content, it's Farelogix technology supporting it. He told BTN Group's The Beat this summer that, aside from the number of providers using Farelogix technology, the company enabled "more than half" of total active NDC volume.

In terms of the November announcement that Sabre will acquire Farelogix, it's a curious moment for Davidson: moving back into the GDS environment. Once an executive with Amadeus, Davidson went the other way with Farelogix, which became synonymous with "GDS-bypass." As CEO, he was an outspoken agitator against GDS dominance. Before the Sabre/Farelogix announcement, though, Davidson spoke of a sea change in distribution collaboration and said he saw the industry working to put archaic protocols and antagonism behind it. "That's the gorilla sitting on my sofa," Davidson told BTN in October. "I keep asking myself, 'We're friends now?'"

Indeed, the GDS community has done an about-face as it eyes opportunities presented by NDC. An Amadeus IT Group executive declared in October that Amadeus had "not seen any players having a vision of going as far as we are prepared to go, which is [to] deliver the detailed reporting, the ability to service the bookings and support duty of care."

While Sabre's Farelogix acquisition won't change that vision for Amadeus or any other GDS, installing active NDC capabilities with Farelogix should catapult Sabre to industry-leading NDC status; it previously might have been perceived as relatively disengaged. Sabre was the last of the major GDSs to achieve IATA NDC Level 3 certification, in September. That perception changes dramatically now.

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