GDS companies help travel agents

Two global distribution systems have announced that they will ease booking requirements for their customers in a move to assist...

Two global distribution systems have announced that they will ease booking requirements for their customers in a move to assist travel agencies hit hard by the recent drop-off in airline bookings.

Both announcements come as a result of the attacks on the US two weeks ago by terrorists who hijacked four commercial hijackers. Airline reservations have declined sharply since 11 September.

A global distribution system (GDS) is a transaction-based reservation system used by airlines. They also publish flight information used by travel agents and online travel sites.

GDS company Amadeus said on 26 September that it would waive some fees associated with bookings and the installation of Amadeus technology until the end of the year.

"Our goal is to provide relevant and comprehensive assistance to travel agents, not only for the near-term challenges that lie ahead but for the future growth and viability of their businesses after this critical time has passed," said Tony McKinnon, president and chief executive officer of Amadeus North America.

The assistance includes waiving fees until the end of December for installing or uninstalling Internet-based platforms such as Amadeus Vista and Amadeus Pro Web; waiving installation and removal fees for the same period for travel agencies that move to their own hardware and Internet service providers; and offering the browser-based reservations platform, Amadeus Vista, on a month-to-month basis after the first six months for new customers.

GDS company Galileo said that it plans to waive some of its usual fees.

"To assist during this unprecedented period of turmoil in the travel industry, Galileo is extending substantial booking-fee credits to its supplier customers," the company said. "This, in addition to previously announced assistance to travel agency and corporate customers, totals several million dollars of direct support to the industry."

Amadeus said it would also waive some of its booking fees.

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