GLOBAL distribution systems have been launched into a pitching war to win business from the airline alliances.
The move follows the deals made by both Amadeus and Galileo with the Star Alliance to put all the partner carriers' schedules and availability onto one screen.
Rival GDS Sabre is also in final discussions with the Star Alliance and Oneworld about launching alliance-specific availability displays.
Sabre vice-president airline marketing Chris Oliver said it expects to announce a deal shortly. The GDS is also planning other product enhancements for the global airline alliances.
Worldspan said that it is actively seeking business for its new product that will display only alliance inventory at the touch of a single key.
Senior director for international marketing Tim Wright said: "Strategically it's a good move for a global distribution supplier to deal with an alliance because then that alliance will want all the agents to use the same system."
Meanwhile, Galileo has launched a new frequent-flyer product which allows business travel agents to call up flights that will earn customers points for their particular frequent-flyer schemes.
Galileo added it had created four more senior management roles to work with the alliances.
Sabre is also launching an auto-preference feature in the autumn which will store a customer's preference for a particular alliance or loyalty programme in the customer's profile. It will then automatically apply the preference when an agent reviews the various flight options.
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