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Air Canada and Sabre Sign New Distribution Agreement

Sabre Travel Network and Air Canada today announced the signing of a new agreement through which the carrier agrees to a four-year term at the highest level of participation in the Sabre global distribution system (GDS), the Direct Connect Availability (DCA) level, resulting in a new commercial agreement which includes reduced booking fee rates fixed for four years. Through the agreement Air Canada will provide all travel agency published fares to Sabre travel agent users in Canada. The agreement will be implemented on Monday, July 5th 2004.

“Air Canada is pleased to introduce a new GDS Distribution Business Model with Sabre Travel Network,” said Marc Rosenberg, Vice-President Sales and Product Distribution, Air Canada. “We expect that the evolution of the model over time will address one of the significant challenges faced by both network carriers and their GDS distribution partners. The agreement announced today will provide Sabre Connected agencies in Canada with improved access to our published fares including Air Canada’s popular web fares - Freedom, Latitude, Fun and Tango - consistent with our priority objective of providing travel agencies in Canada with choice, flexibility and efficiency when purchasing Air Canada product . In addition, the agreement allows us to further reduce distribution costs.”

In the Sabre GDS, airlines sign a participating carrier agreement enabling them to choose from one of several optional levels of connectivity to the system. DCA is the highest level and provides airlines with a wide range of services to market and sell their flight and fare information through the travel network of more than 53,000 travel agency locations worldwide, including 3,100 agency locations in Canada. Approximately 60 percent of the air travel bookings by travel agents in Canada through a GDS are made using the Sabre system.

“This agreement clearly reinforces the value of the agency channel and the partnership between Air Canada and Sabre Travel Network,” said Joe Herzog, divisional vice president and general manager—Canada for Sabre Travel Network. “It is a win-win-win for Air Canada, Sabre Travel Network, Sabre Connected agencies and their customers. Air Canada improves customer loyalty and reduces distribution costs; Sabre Travel Network becomes the first-to-market GDS toÊ ensure their agency network has access to all travel agency published fares; agencies are able to better serve their customers and their travelers gain confidence they can get the best fares through the channel of their choice.”