lanned Web Site of Four Big Carriers
from The Wall street Journal 13th Jan 2000.
Nearly two dozen U.S. and foreign airlines have signed up to offer tickets,
including discounted Internet-only special fares.on a Web site being
created by UAL Corp's United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines
and Continental Airlines. .According to Boston Consulting Group,which is
developing the site, "associate" members include AMR Corp's American
Airlines and US Airways Group Inc. Boston Consulting is expected to
announce the roster of new airlines today. "The consumer proposition of
going to one place and finding not only the standard fares but the
Internet-only fares of the six largest domestic airlines and 21 other
airlines is unique," said Ben Burnett, a vice
president of Boston Consulting.
Aside from American and US Air, six smaller U.S. carriers also came aboard,
including American Trans Air, Hawaiian Airlines and Midwest Express
Airlines. Among the foreign carriers are Air Canada, Air New Zealand,
Alitalia, All Nippon Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Singapore Airlines
and Varig, the consulting firm, based in Boston, said.
Led by United and Delta, the site was announced in November as a
competitive answer to Travelocity.com, Expedia Inc. and other Web sites
that appeal to independent-minded travellers. The four airline founders
plan to invest a total of more than $100 million in the site, which will be
managed independently of the four to help ensure neutrality and avoid
antitrust concerns. Boston Consulting, which is acting as temporary launch
manager, said it is recruiting a management team. The addition of America,
the nation's second-largest carrier, is noteworthy because it comes at a
time when its parent, AMR, of Fort Worth, Texas, is in the process of
spinning off Sabre Holdings Corp., operator of Travelocity. Independence
from Sabre gives American more latitude in the Internet arena. The new
site is expected to start up during the second quarter. Mr. Burnett said
Boston Consulting fully expectsî to announce more airlines and hotels,
car-rental agencies and tour companies as associates in the future. "It
would support our business model if they supplied special Internet-only
capacity," he said.
Travelers looking for special Internet fares usually must maneuver between
the various individual airline sites to catch the discounts, although a few
sites do pull together selected Internet fares by using "screen-scraping"
technology to surf the airlines' own sites. By having 27 carriers make
available comprehensive seat inventories at fares as low as or lower than
those available from any other source, the new site will raise the bar for
one-stop shopping, Boston Consulting said.
Airlines have invested heavily in their own and other Web sites because it
is far cheaper to sell tickets online than through their own reservations
centers or through travel agents. But the process is often cumbersome,
which means that many more consumers "look" than actually "book" online. An
analysis last year of the largest 20 U.S. travel Web sites by
electronic-business consultants Quidnunc Group PLC found that none did a
very good job of offering a hassle-free experience to travelers.