Monday, September 17, 2007

All aboard the GDS love-in - not quite

The European Commission gave the thumbs-up last week to an extraordinary deal between two of the giants of the GDS world, Amadeus and Sabre.

The pair are launching Moneydirect, a rather clever payment "solution" for travel providers and needed the EC to clear any competition issues.

There is plenty of detail to follow on this but there is one crucial question (apart from the name of the business, which sounds more akin to a financial services price comparison site):

What about Travelport (Galileo and Worldspan's parent organisation)?

Amadeus-Sabre say they want this to be the start of an industry standard solution for payments. But the other half the GDS sector feels indifferent, has ideas of its own or is biding its time to see whether Moneydirect works.

[The system has been up and running successfully in Australia and New Zealand]

During a briefing last week, Moneydirect chief operating officer Laurent Chartier (from the Amadeus camp) pointed us to some comments from Jeff Clark (Travelport), who said the project was a "good idea" and "positive for all parties".

However Chartier would not say how negotiations had gone so far with Travelport. Indeed there is a board of directors for the new company, which is staffed with Amadeus and Sabre execs.

Either way the development is a very good one for an industry, many execs behind the scenes admit, beset with old systems which are not up to the task of handling high volumes and coordintating multi-distribution platforms.

Let's just see how long it takes Worldspan-Galileo to join the club.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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