BRISBANE -- Virgin Blue Airlines signed a deal with Sabre to
provide travel agents with "Y" class net fares starting in late
The carrier, which flies to 11 cities within Australia, also
hopes to start flying from Australia to New Zealand by the end of
the year, according to David Huttner, head of commercial operations
for the airline.
The deal with Sabre will enable U.S. agents to sell tickets at
retail prices, but agents will have to charge a service fee to make
any money off the ticket, said Huttner.
"Agents already are using our Web booking engine and earning a
6% commission with no caps, but we know a lot of agents would
rather book our flights in the CRS than the Web," said Huttner. "We
want to make it as easy for them as possible.
"We want to start focusing on the North American market, and
that is one of the key reasons we signed the deal with Sabre,"
Huttner said the airline has only about 20 to 30 U.S. agents who
are "major bookers ... the Aussie-specialist type of agents" who
are using the airline's agent-only Web site to book flights.
Huttner also said the airline is open to negotiations with
"major tour operators" that want private net fares lower than the
retail fares displayed in the Sabre system.
The airline also recently announced it is now offering
connecting flights with through fares between the 11 cities it
Virgin Blue serves Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns, Canberra, Darwin,
Mackay, Melbourne, Mount Isa, Sydney, Townsville and
The Virgin Blue travel agent booking engine can be found at www.virginblue.com.au.