EXIT? In a move that signals its de-emphasizing of the
new-entrant GDS market, ITA Software and Air Canada will soon
announce a deal to develop an internal reservation management
system for Air Canada, TravelWeekly.com learned. The deal, to deliver
what would be ITAs first airline host system, is in the final
stages of negotiations, according to airline spokesman John Reber.
When asked about the Air Canada deal, ITA President and CEO Jeremy
Wertheimer acknowledged that, ITAs marketing efforts
notwithstanding, the technology companys core business focus now is
on developing similar airline res systems, not constructing an
ITAS new approach, airline consultant Robert Mann of R.W.
Mann & Co. termed ITA hugely competent but said a lack of
desktops drove this. ITA and G2 SwitchWorks do not have enough
traction among agencies to pursue distribution, Mann said. Legacy
airlines need the ability to morph their hosting systems into tools
that permit the construction in real time of forward-management
tools, Mann said, offering that ITA and G2 can compete here [in the
airline hosting sector] and win.
CANADA decided to restore Tango fares (its lowest-priced
fares) to its travel agent Web site [www.aircanada.com/agents], effective July 7. But its
going to cost Air Canada because its GDS contracts require the
airline to pay a higher segment fee for offering fares on its agent
site that arent distributed in the GDSs. Marc Rosenberg, Air
Canadas vice president of sales and product distribution, said, We
dont believe that travel agents should be held hostage while we
progress with our GDS discussion. As to why it took two months to
get the fares back on the agent Web site, Rosenberg said the timing
was determined by contractual limitations, a reference to
provisions in Air Canadas GDS contracts that barred it for a
certain time period from having fares on its agent site that it
didnt have in the GDSs. Air Canada continues to withhold Tango
fares from the GDSs.
PRICELINE.COM, keeping its distribution
options open, signed a multi-year distribution agreement with G2
SwitchWorks. Under the pact, Priceline has the option to begin
using G2s fare-search functionality on Priceline.com and LowestFare.com. Priceline can also access air
inventory through G2 for its retail and name-your-own-price
products. Under the agreement, Priceline will have the ability to
use G2 for air searches and then could tap into air inventory from
G2, Worldspan or Sabre. Priceline currently uses Worldspan for fare
searching and airline inventory and has done so on an exclusive
basis for years. In February, Priceline announced a five-year
distribution deal with Sabre, supplementing its Worldspan
agreement, but the agreement has not been implemented, according to
Priceline spokesman Brian Ek.
BUSINESS picked up a major account, defense contractor
Lockheed Martin, believed to be the largest corporate account to
switch to a major online retailer. Travelocity Business replaces
Navigant International as the corporate agency for Lockheed Martin,
which was ranked 47th on the 2005 Fortune 500 list.
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