NEW YORK, NY - American Express and American Airlines announced today that they have agreed to provide American Express Corporate Travel customers in North America with access to all publicly available American Airlines fares, including Web fares. This collaboration will create a new distribution model that delivers lower airfares to American Express’ corporate customers. It will also lower distribution costs for American Airlines. The companies expect to launch the program in first quarter 2003.
“Our customers have been seeking efficient access to Web fares for a long time. This breakthrough initiative with American Airlines will make that happen,” says Pamela Arway, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Corporate Travel North America. “Clients will not have to alter any agreements, assume any risk or incur any passed-along costs to receive access.”
Through an enhancement to its proprietary technology, TravelBahnsm, American Express has created a new business model to help American Airlines reduce its distribution costs. American Express Corporate Travel customers will automatically gain full access to all American Airlines public fares, including those found on AA.com and other low-cost distribution channels.
“Major change sometimes requires the industry leaders—in this case, the largest airline and largest travel management company—to step up to the plate,” said Craig Kreeger, Vice President and General Sales Manager, American Airlines. “We’ve said we are open to listen to all innovative ways to achieve lower distribution costs, and this new program does just that. It represents significant savings for American and is consistent with our overall distribution strategy to offer Web fares to those channels offering us low cost over the long term. At the same time, we`re happy to improve our product offering to corporate customers.”
Web fares have been a controversial issue for the corporate travel industry since they have largely not been made available through the existing Global Distribution System (GDS) channel. Corporate travel managers have been struggling to control employee bookings on Web sites outside managed travel programs. They have also been frustrated at the inability to track bookings made on Web sites by their employees and the resulting gaps in critical management information. American Express and American Airlines have resolved the issue by approaching the GDS distribution model in a new way, providing efficient access to Web fares for corporate travelers through the existing travel management channel.
A new commercial and technological enhancement called TravelBahnsm DS (Distribution Solution) will enable American Express to connect with American Airlines using a broad range of booking technology, including GDS functionality. Customers will not have to alter their existing travel programs to take advantage of this new access plan.
The American Express Consumer Travel Network is considering participation in the program.