Tamur Goudarzi Pour
"At the moment it’s a bit like Pac-Man with everybody trying to swallow somebody else, so there is going to be consolidation, and new players are coming. I think we will see some players becoming much bigger."
Quote from Tamur Goudarzi Pour, senior vice president for channel management for the Lufthansa Group and chief commercial officer for Swiss Airlines, in an article this week on PhocusWire about the future of airline distribution.
Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered by PhocusWire that week.
We suspect that the aviation sector would certainly like the conversation to have moved on from still talking about NDC in fine year's time.
This was put to a group of aviation executives at recent CAPA Airline Leader Summit in the U.K. - prompting Lufthansa Group's Tamur Goudarzi Pour to reference the famous arcade game from the 1980s.
Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde, collectively known as the Ghost Gang, were the dastardly protagonists hell-bent on capturing the player as he or she would roam around the board, trying to eat all the dots.
It's a perfect analogy for airline distribution in its current state, with the airlines playing the part of the dots and the Ghost Gang, some might argue, representing the global distribution systems that have ruled over the landscape for decades.
Pac-Man is the humble startup, attempting to secure as many carriers as it can before being chased away or, even worse, consumed by the gang.
But as with many analogies, it's actually far more difficult to figure out than a simple comparison between a basic arcade game from 40 years ago and a complex system with hundreds (probably, thousands) of stakeholders.
Pac-Man may have changed fairly little since it was introduced by Japanese video game company Namco in 1980 (yes, another airline distribution comparison right there - we get it), yet its multiple levels is, again, a good way to think about how airline distribution might evolve.
The hardiest travel startups in the sector might be able to survive the initial phases of attempting to make their presence felt. But then it gets tougher, as the Ghost Gang become quicker and more nimble over time.
This is what makes Pac-Man such an enduring game for users - the tougher the opponent, the better they players need to be.
That drive to compete and do better each time, as each level develops, will hopefully be what makes the sector a more innovative and, ultimately, better performing.
The next five years or so could well be a multi-player, multi-level game of Pac-Man in airline distribution. We do not foresee just yet how the battle ends.
PhocusWire's editorials examine a trend or development highlighted in an article during the week.