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United exec gets business accolade

Graham Atkinson, senior vice president-Worldwide Sales and Alliances at United Airlines has been selected as one of the top 25 most influential executives of the business travel industry in 2005 by Business Travel News.Atkinson was chosen by the
magazine as a leader in the travel industry for transforming the airline’s
sales organization, reducing the cost of ticket distribution, and for his role
in investing in United’s products and services.
  “We’re proud that Business Travel News has selected Graham Atkinson and
his team as prominent leaders in the travel industry,” said John Tague,
United’s executive vice president of Marketing, Sales and Revenue.  “Under
Graham’s leadership, United is developing a world-class sales organization,
which continues to invest in new technology and provide our customers with the
service they expect and deserve.”
  “As with all 25 people on the list, we named Graham Atkinson for the
influence he exerted on the business travel industry at large,” said David
Meyer, editor-in-chief of Business Travel News.  “Most significantly, his
efforts to promote transparency when it comes to ticket distribution costs and
to bolster the efforts of GDS alternatives changed the nature of the
discussion about the future of the global distribution system relationship
last year and altered the negotiations that major airlines are now trying to
wrap up with the GDSs.”
  Atkinson was recognized by the editors of Business Travel News for leading
the airline industry during 2005 for his role in lowering United’s
distribution costs; overseeing the restructure of United’s Worldwide Sales
team; helping launch premium products such as p.s., explus and Economy
Plus; as well as the expansion of United’s network with new international
routes and code-share agreements with other air carriers.  As an
industry-first, Atkinson also launched a highly acclaimed new incentive
program for corporations in response to the industry fare restructuring.