Travel Weekly's Technology E-letter: Sept. 6, 2006

SABRE AND AMERICAN have "come to terms" on a five-year, "full content" distribution agreement under which the airline designates Sabre's Efficient Access Solution "a competitive distribution channel for American Airlines ticket sales," American said. American becomes one of Sabre's Efficient Access Solution carriers, providing travel agencies who participate in the program "the ability to shop, price and book travel on American Airlines without incurring a booking source premium charge," said American. The agreement provides American Airlines content in Sabre's Efficient Access Solution program with no fee charged by the airline for agencies participating in the program, according to the agreement.

WITH JUST HOURS' NOTICE, DELTA informed agencies and corporations hooked up to Amadeus that it would begin charging them a $3.50-per-segment cost recovery fee on all Amadeus bookings as of noon Eastern time Sept. 1. The development came as Delta acknowledged that its content access agreement with Amadeus expired Aug. 31. "While we have tried over the last several months to negotiate a new content agreement with Amadeus to ensure its subscribers would have continued access to Delta's full content, Amadeus has been unwilling to offer us market-rate booking fees," Delta stated on its agency Web site [www.delta.com/travel-agency/home/login/index.jsp] and in a blast fax and e-mail to agents. "As a result of Amadeus's high cost structure, Delta is implementing new policies and procedures for travel service providers who choose to use the Amadeus GDS to make Delta bookings."

TRAVELPORT CHAIRMAN GORDON BETHUNE stepped down after five months on the job when Travelport's sale to the Blackstone Group closed Aug. 23. In the Aug. 31 announcement of Bethune's exit, Travelport said Chip Schorr, the Blackstone Group's senior managing director, would replace Bethune, a former CEO of Continental, as chairman of Travelport. Bethune left Travelport to become nonexecutive chairman of Aloha Airgroup and Aloha Airlines. When Cendant announced the Bethune hiring in March, the company stated that Bethune would remain in the Travelport post after the company was spun off. But, instead of spinning off Travelport into an independent public company, Cendant sold the division to Blackstone for $4.3 billion. Schorr is senior managing director of Blackstone's private equity group and specializes in technology investments. Prior to joining Blackstone in 2005, Schorr was a managing director of Citigroup Venture Capital, one of the two firms that paid more than $1.1 billion to buy Worldspan in 2003.

BRITISH AIRWAYS signed a deal to offer a registered traveler program this fall for its operations at New York's Kennedy Airport, giving the airline's business travelers and other frequent flyers the opportunity to pay an annual fee of about $80 for separate, and hopefully faster, security screening. To qualify, under the program rules established by the Transportation Security Administration, participants must provide background information about themselves so they can be prescreened by the TSA. They'll also provide a biometric identifier such as a fingerprint for a biometric identity card. The airline is offering the program under an agreement with Clear, a registered traveler program operated by Verified Identity Pass, a private-sector company. The BA-Clear agreement also includes provisions for marketing the program to BA customers across North America, including corporate accounts. Clear offers a discount to companies that prepay with one check for 20 or more memberships.

TRAVELOCITY is operating a booking engine on the State of Maryland's tourism Web site and is paying a commission to the state for every sale. "It isn't the traditional state office of tourism function," said Dennis Castleman, director of the Maryland Office of Tourism. "But I believe this is the future of what state tourism offices will do. It is another step in using technology that is available to provide more information and more service to our customer." The booking engine enables consumers seeking travel and vacation information about Maryland to book air tickets, car rentals, hotel accommodations and admission to attractions. The functionality went live on Aug. 25 at www.visitmaryland.org.

Technology Editor:

Dennis Schaal

Phone: (201) 902-1904

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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