Airline Buys Into Online Travel Agency

British Airways has taken a minority stake in, the award-winning website site for booking and planning business travel.

The airline is the first European carrier to buy a share in a major online travel agency with the acquisition of a stake in Rosenbluth Interactive. Rosenbluth Interactive will comprise two lines of business:, the Web`s only full-service business travel agency, and a full-service personal travel site which will be named later this autumn. is a pioneer in the provision of full-service business travel planning, booking and fulfillment on the Internet, and is a recognised leader in the online servicing of the rapidly growing small-office and home-office (SOHO) market.

British Airways` investment in Rosenbluth Interactive, along with its recent marketing agreement with UK Interactive television provider ntl, underlines the airline`s determination to be at the forefront of the development of electronic business. Up to 50 per cent of the airline`s business, direct and indirect, is expected to be made electronically by the year 2003.

Pat Gaffey, British Airways` Head of Distribution, said: “ has developed state-of-the-art distribution technology which provides a superb opportunity for us to further develop expertise in this new media arena. It is important that we work closely with the best online distributors so that customers choosing to do business across the net or through television, have easy access to our products.


“Customers are becoming increasingly selective about which websites they visit and with which companies they chose to have a relationship. is a highly regarded company with an award winning travel site. It is well positioned to be an important player in the Internet travel arena.”

Hal Rosenbluth, Chairman and CEO of Rosenbluth International and Rosenbluth Interactive, said: “British Airways is a premiere airline, and a world-renowned brand, which is demonstrative of the types of companies Rosenbluth International has secured to be affiliated with this new company,”.

“While has been viewed in the past as a North American-centric website our plans call for rapid development towards global markets. Our goal is for to be globally utilised and recognised as the premiere site for business and individual travel and British Airways is an ideal partner.”