Austrian Airlines has extended its online booking capability to include charter flights.
The airline is using the new Optima.Res booking tool from Dublin-based Gradient, a Sabre company, to let customers book charter flights online at www.ferienflug.at.
Gradient adapted AirNet, the leisure travel online booking tool it developed for Austrian in 1998, to produce the new site.
Austrian is now able to sell both scheduled and charter leisure travel online. Its decision was prompted by the significant growth predicted for online leisure travel bookings in Europe. Industry analyst PhoCusWright says this is set to double from $2.9 billion in 2000 to $6 billion in 2001.
“When we decided to offer customers the ability to book charter flights online, we knew automatically that Gradient could do it. The booking capabilities on our site, AirNet and AirManager, have been a great success as an additional channel of distribution”, said Konstantin Kasapis, manager of Austrian Airlines` [email protected] Sales.
“However, it wasn`t just a technology decision - we have a good partnership with Gradient.”
The charter-flight booking tool has the following features: Real time information - All flights and information on the site are up to the minute. There are two types of flights sold via the site. Scheduled charter flights are available all year, and last minute flights, are available two weeks prior to departure.
Choice of mailing options - Once you have booked online, the traveller can choose how to take delivery of the ticket. Tickets can be picked up at the airport or mailed to a home address or collected at any Austrian Airlines ticketing office.
Easy to use? travellers can check price and availability simultaneously, avoiding the frustration of attempting to book a flight that is already full.
The contract is a coup for Gradient, which markets Optima.Res, a part of the Sabre .Res suite of online booking tools for the leisure travel market. Jeff Harmon, senior vice-president of Sabre`s online travel solutions, said the functionality was made possible by the product`s architectural flexibility.
“Optima.Res is our flagship online travel booking product ? it was designed to be used across a wide range of online travel booking environments, so flexibility was key.”
Austrian and Gradient began their association in November 1998 when Gradient developed AirNet, the leisure booking tool. They cemented this relationship with the addition of AirManager, (www.aua.com/business/en/) the corporate booking tool in December 1999. “Austrian Airlines were one of the first Gradient Solutions customers and we are committed to continue to deliver superior functionality that suits their needs and the needs of their customers,” Harmon said.