Passenger service technology deal will open more opportunities in travel sector for us: TCS

Tata Consultancy Service (), which is developing a passenger services platform for a global airline-focused client, expects that to pave the way for more opportunities in other travel segments and geographies, a senior executive said.

TCS is developing the customised platform for Plaza Premium Group (PPG), which caters to 70 airport locations and serves 20 million passengers annually.

The platform is expected to be first deployed at the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru early next year, where the company has already rolled out four out of 22 planned services, Girish Ramachandran, president, TCS Asia Pacific, told ET.

“We have launched three or four of the planned services for PPG at the Bengaluru airport and expect to roll out all 22 by 2022. This is just the tip of the iceberg, with the opportunity to service over 150 locations globally,” Ramachandran added. “PPG recently won a deal in Beijing for providing the same services to rail passengers, and there is a possibility to explore similar offerings for Indian rail passengers as well.”

In September, PPG won a 10-year service contract to manage passenger services at the Bengaluru airport. PPG offers services at airports in Delhi, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Visakhapatnam.

India’s largest IT service provider by revenue is focusing on the travel sector as companies gradually resume business travel amid uncertainty with respect to the emergence of a new Covid-19 virus variant, Omicron.

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The TCS management has, in recent quarters, said that North America was leading the recovery in the travel and hospitality segment and that new segments like railways were seeking out digitisation solutions.

During the second quarter, TCS chief executive Rajesh Gopinathan had said that the company expects the airline segment to return to normalcy by 2024.

Ramachandran, however, cautioned that despite global reports of over 80% travel sector recovery in 2022 compared to pre-Covid-19 levels, the on-ground recovery will be unequal as different countries are taking varied approaches to health and safety.

Within the Asia Pacific region, major travel hubs such as Hong Kong and Singapore have been badly affected by the pandemic but others like Australia are opening up.

“While we were all expecting travel, tourism customers to slow down because of the pandemic, most customers have used this opportunity to reduce their dependence on their own infrastructure and move everything onto the cloud… make themselves lean and agile. We are still working with a whole lot of them across Asia Pacific to work on such solutions,” Ramachandran said.

In September, the company announced a cloud infrastructure deal with Colombian airline Avianca.

Deals in the travel and tourism space, he said, are increasingly incremental, with customers signing new deals based on the outcome of existing ones.

This has led to a higher number of small deals compared to very large deals in the past.

Interest in the Asia Pacific region is especially high due to demand from domestic travel in China, he added.

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