Nine leading airlines today announced their plan to launch a new online travel exchange for Asia-Pacific. These airlines include Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas Airways, Royal Brunei Airlines and Singapore Airlines. Air New Zealand, Ansett Australia, and Asiana Airlines have also decided to join the exchange. The new exchange is yet to be named.
The exchange will have both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) elements, and include a full spectrum of travel services, such as air travel, hotel bookings, car rentals and land tours. This travel exchange will be operated by a new business entity, separate from each of the airlines, with its own independent management team.
The business-to-consumer (B2C) component of the exchange will act primarily as an online travel agency. In addition to features of existing online agencies, the exchange will cater to market-specific needs, an important feature for any e-business in the Asia-Pacific region given the rich mix of cultures and languages. It will offer consumers a wide range of information to help them better plan their travel, as well as detailed customisation of preferences. Consumers can look forward to an unprecedented choice in travel products.
The business-to-business (B2B) component of this initiative aims to provide opportunities for the travel trade and other travel distribution companies to enhance their ability to meet their customers` needs online in a cost-effective manner. This will be accomplished by providing a variety of online services to enable travel agents and other travel distribution companies to trade effectively online and the ability to implement their own customised, private-label version for the benefit of their customer bases.
The airlines negotiating the venture have been in discussions with each other since early this year. The venture welcomes participation from all airlines and other major travel content providers operating within the Asia-Pacific region, and will provide interested parties with detailed presentations in the near future.
Discussions are also in progress with various technology providers and global distribution systems (GDS) on possible ways of co-operation.
The venture aims to start operations in the fourth quarter of 2000. Booz.Allen & Hamilton and The Giga Information Group have been engaged to assist in the development and launch of this exchange.
Cathay Pacific`s Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive David Turnbull said: “As Hong Kong`s airline, we are proud to work with other airlines around the region to play a leading role in the e-Business area. Our aim with this new travel site is to harness the tremendous power of the Internet to give travellers and travel agents greater choice and more convenience when arranging travel plans.”
Further information will be announced as the project progresses.