British Airways is to join forces with ten major airlines to create the first European, multi-airline, on-line travel agency. The new site will offer the general public access to the most up-to-date fare information, including the airlines’ lowest branded fares. It is expected to attract a significant proportion of total on-line travel sales in Europe within the next two years.
The other partners in the new venture are Air France, Lufthansa, Alitalia, KLM, Iberia, SAS, Aer Lingus, Austrian Airlines Group, British Midland and Finnair.
The ground-breaking site - to be named in the coming months - will offer independent travellers the most comprehensive and competitively priced range of flights to, from and within Europe. They will also be able to book hotels, car hire, insurance and other travel services through the site.
Speaking on behalf of the member airlines, Rod Eddington, Chief Executive of British Airways, said: “This site will revolutionise the way European customers arrange their travel plans. From the comfort of their own armchair, they’ll now have access in their own language to the biggest international route network and some of the lowest fares available, as well as a one-stop-shop for all their travel needs.
“All our research shows that customers want to be able to compare and buy offers from a wide range of airlines by visiting just one site. Now they can do just that. They will also have the reassurance that they are dealing with established brands which they can trust to deliver.”
The new venture, which is expected to launch towards the end of this year, will be managed independently of the airlines. The member airlines will remain competitors and will not share pricing or proprietary information with each other.
The site is expected to significantly cut the cost of selling and distributing tickets for the member companies.