Sabre and Gulf Air Announce New Joint Venture

Sabre and Gulf Air said today that they have signed an agreement to create a joint venture based in Bahrain.  The new company, Sabre Travel Network Middle East, brings together the world’s leading global distribution system (GDS) and the vast local expertise of Gulf Air to further extend world class travel technology services in the Middle East.  Sabre will have the majority ownership in the new business.The agreement includes a five-year contract with Sabre Airline Solutions for the SabreSonic suite of products for passenger management, as well as additional operational software and consulting services from Sabre Airline Solutions.

Gulf Air and Sabre Travel Network have had a marketing partnership for nearly 15 years.  The joint venture gives Sabre a stronger presence in the Middle East through Gulf Air, an influential local partner and an established regional carrier which, as the national airline of Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Oman, enjoys complete support from its owning governments.

The venture will provide technology services, bookable travel products and distribution services for travel agencies, corporations and travel suppliers in the region.

“The immense challenges facing the airline industry today require a concerted collaborative effort with specialist partners in both the public and private sectors,” said James Hogan, President and chief executive of Gulf Air. “Sabre’s innovative business and technology solutions make it a partner of choice in meeting our requirements and addressing the constant challenges of the competitive market. At the same time, Gulf Air’s regional network and strong historic and geographic ties in the region will enable us to further leverage the services we offer. “

Tom Klein, Sabre Holdings senior vice president and group president of Sabre Travel Network and Sabre Airline Solutions, said: “This partnership is another example of the way we can deliver even more value in a growing travel marketplace.  We are excited about the opportunity to leverage our global experience, long history of successful supplier and agency relationships, and technology expertise to benefit both travel suppliers and agencies.”

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The agreement also expands the relationship between Sabre Airline Solutions and Gulf Air for reservations, scheduling and operational technology.  It includes a new departure control system from the SabreSonic suite of products and an aircraft provisioning system to streamline Gulf Air’s catering operation.  The airline will also use consulting services from Sabre in a major performance improvement exercise to get full commercial advantage from the operational tools and technology the airline is using, including expanded operations decision support technology. 

“In the course of our restructuring programme, Sabre’s consulting team has worked closely with us to achieve significant revenue enhancement through an ongoing focus on pricing, revenue management and sales and revenue realisation,” said Hogan.

“This demonstrates our ability to collaborate with an airline to explore its tough challenges, and then use our expertise to help ensure the carrier has the right mix of technology and marketing services to meet its current and future business objectives,” said Klein.

“We are clearly seeing a trend whereby carriers are looking at partnering with a vendor that can offer both breadth and depth of solutions across the airline’s entire IT portfolio, including distribution, software, and consulting services; it’s a one-stop shopping concept,” continued Klein. 

“We are pleased to see Gulf Air select the same path as Aeroflot, the Russian flag-carrier, Air One, the Italian carrier, and Frontier, the US-based carrier - all have chosen a vendor partnering strategy in the past eight months.”

Sabre Inc. will be the majority owner of record for Sabre Travel Network Middle East.


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