Orbitz`s European soulmate, Opodo, recently launched sites in Germany and the U.K. and plans a French presence later this year.
In fact, Opodo disclosed March 13 that its British site at www.opodo.co.uk
was the third most-visited travel site in the United Kingdom (behind Expedia.com
). The German site, at www.opodo.de
, ranks fourth in that country.
, Opodo is airline-owned. Its founders are Aer Lingus, Air France, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, KLM and Lufthansa.
Unlike Orbitz, Opodo assured regulators that it is committed to “fair access.”
The European travel portal pledged to the European Commission that its “shareholder” and “non-shareholder” airlines are free to negotiate better deals with competitors—both online and offline, an Opodo spokeswoman said.
“Indeed, should a competitor offer a shareholder the same or better negotiated deal than Opodo, the shareholder is entirely free to distribute fares via the most commercially sensible means,” she added.
In contrast, Orbitz requires its charter associate airlines—at the minimum—to match deals they give competitors.
Opodo, which offers air, car and hotel inventory, projects it will be “the leading European online travel service by 2004.”
Related stories on ITN:
(28/01/2002) Opodo Makes its UK Debut
(24/01/2002) Opodo Serves as a threat to online travel sites
(23/01/2002) Opodo Launches New UK Site
(30/11/2001) Opodo Launches In Europe`s Leading Travel Market.