SOME of the world’s leading airlines are pushing publicly and aggressively for GDS distribution alternatives through the Bangkok-based Star Alliance.
At a press conference in Japan last week, the Star Alliance told media that it would actively support new entrants to the distribution marketplace -provided the price is right.
And in a further backhander to the incumbents, Star Alliance Chief Executive Officer Jaan Albecht says the “new entrants” – known as GNEs – may provide better service for less money.
“Our 16 member carriers currently pay a combined total of around US$2 billion in annual GDS fees and we see a definite potential to reduce these,” says Mr Albrecht.
“The GNEs will not only allow the member airlines to cut distribution costs, but also permit the carriers to explore new functionalities which the current GDS do not provide.”
He says Air Canada, Lufthansa, SAS, Singapore Airlines and United are at the forefront of this initiative on behalf of all Star Alliance members.
The aim is to draw up a single strategy for selecting GNE partners.
“It is our aim to finalise the GNE selection by the end of the year,” says Albrecht.
Star Alliance was established in 1997and claims its members represent almost 29% of world airline revenue.
Members are Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, bmi, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Spanair, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways International, United, US Airways and VARIG Brazilian Airlines.
South African Airways will be integrated over the next 12 months.