Hahn Air is a German scheduled and executive charter airline, and since 1999 it offers indirect distribution services to other airlines and thus provides ticketing solutions to 100,000 travel agencies in 190 markets. With two decades of experience, the company has established itself as the market leader and today, Hahn Air’s partner network encompasses more than 350 partner airlines. Bharat Kapoor, Regional Vice President, Hahn Air India, provides more insight into the company and about their unique business model of introducing airlines and agents to a world of NDC and who do not have to develop their own solution.
Hahn Air has a unique business model involving airlines and travel agents. Tell us more about the same?
For more than 20 years, we have been enabling travel agencies to sell tickets of airlines they would normally not have access to. With our solutions, travel agents can, for example, issue tickets for airlines that do not grant ticketing authority in their market or that do not participate in the local BSP. With our products H1-Air and X1-Air, we even give travel agents access to airlines that are not in their GDS at all. Via the H1 and X1 codes, travel agents can book flights of these airlines and issue them on the insolvency-safe HR-169 ticket. More than 350 airlines already trust our solutions.
How many new airline partnerships have you forged in 2020 despite the difficulties the industry is facing due to COVID-19?
2020 was a challenging year. Nevertheless, we are very proud to have integrated 14 new partners this year. Of the new partners, Air Century (Y2), Air Liaison (DU), Blue Islands (SI), Corendon Airlines Europe (XR), Divi Divi Air (3R), Eastern Airways (T3), Emetebe Airlines (ET) Jet Fly (JFL) and Tayaran Jet (E8) join our X1-Air network. They are now available in Amadeus, Sabre, and Travelport under the designator X1. Cambodia Airways (KR) and Corendon Airlines (XC) complement our H1-Air network and can be booked under the code H1 in all major GDSs. And finally, Air Canada (AC), Bamboo Airways (QH), Cambodia Airways (KR), Eastern Airlines (2D) and Thai Smile Airways (WE) have signed an interline agreement with Hahn Air. They are now available for ticketing in markets where they are not participating in the local billing and settlement systems and can be issued on our HR-169 ticket.
Hahn Air also has a huge network of travel agency partners across the globe. How do you work with them?
Travel agents appreciate our services, which are free, easy-to-use and secure. They do not have to leave their GDS to use our solutions, they can just use the standard reservation and ticketing processes as usual. All they need to do is select Hahn Air as the validating carrier. It is that simple. We have a dedicated team of global key account managers supporting travel agencies in understanding the many advantages of the Hahn Air products. For any ticketing issues, travel agents can 24/7 contact our reliable Service Desk. In addition, we keep our partners informed via regular newsletters and provide an excellent website that offers helpful tools like GDS ticketing instructions and detailed information about our services.
What are the multiple challenges in your line of business where there is always a conflict and misunderstanding between the airline and the travel agents? How do you resolve their issues?
That’s the beauty of our service. By acting as an intermediary between travel agents and airlines, we are the single point of contact for both sides. That way, we can make sure that conflicts and misunderstandings do not even arise. With Hahn Air, everybody wins: the airlines gain more potential customers and can therefore sell more tickets. At the same time, the travel agents have access to more airlines and routes and can therefore offer more choices to their customers.
How important is technology for your kind of operations which is based on distribution services? What are your unique products helping in these services?
Technology is of course very important, and we pride ourselves on always using the latest standards that are available. We have our own innovation lab developing new ways for our partners to increase their revenue. In 2019, for example, we introduced our own NDC platform and were the first company to issue an airline ticket enabled by blockchain technology. However, we believe that the key to our success is – and has always been – the personal interaction with our partners. Technology cannot replace a conversation, personal training, or a helpful phone call. That’s why I’d say that a very unique feature of our services is our people. Our Service Desk and our dedicated account managers passionately assist travel agents in understanding how they can make the most of our solutions. That’s what makes Hahn Air more than a ticket.
How is India positioned in your role of operations, specifically in the Asia-Pacific region?
As for India, it is an important market for us. Back in 2002, we first built our roots in the market through our appointed Service Partner Bird Travels, New Delhi. As we saw the potential that the market held, we decided to establish our own office in New Delhi in 2013. To acknowledge the importance of the market, we also established a dedicated Service Desk for India. The 24/7 Service Desk can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or on our toll-free number 1 800 1021169. In addition, I am happy to provide trainings, sales support and answers on how to increase a travel agency’s revenue with the Hahn Air solutions.
Presently, there have been lots of changes in the aviation industry. According to you, what will be the industry like post COVID?
As a whole, our industry is experiencing a difficult phase. More airlines and travel agencies will rely on government aid to survive. It is much too early to predict how the market will develop, consolidate and shift with lowered customer demand, reduced business travel and inconveniences due to health and safety restrictions. We are just at the beginning of a fundamental change in air travel.
Post-COVID-19, we will continue to see an emphasis on security. When considering buying travel, passengers want to see their personal health, as well as their financial investment protected. Hahn Air’s free insolvency protection Securtix is automatically included with every HR-169 ticket and caters to this extra need for security and protection. Now more than ever, our insolvency protection serves as a strong argument for travel agents to sell our partners’ tickets.