More online travel services result of sale

New Zealand travel agents will gain access to more online travel services and a new IP-based network following the sale by Air New Zealand and Qantas of their interests in Sabre Pacific and Galileo.

Air New Zealand/Ansett Group and Qantas are joint owners of TIAS, a supplier of IT services and systems to the travel industry. TIAS will sell its licensed marketing arms, Sabre Pacific and Southern Cross-Galileo, to international reservation system providers Sabre Holdings and Galileo International.

The airlines say they are divesting themselves of non-core businesses. Air New Zealand will gain an after-tax $80 million from the sale. Qantas' before-tax profit will be $A65 million.

Southern Cross-Galileo Australia and New Zealand general manager Mark Rezzuto says Galileo International is now looking to roll out its Quantitude IP network in New Zealand and Australia. The network, which is used by the travel and other industries in the US, provides voice, video and data services.

Sabre Pacific general manager David Allen says the sale means Texas-based Sabre Holdings will be able to roll out a wider range of products and services here much more quickly. The first product will probably be GetThere or GetThere Light, which supplies travel technologies, services and content to corporates. GetThere can integrate with a company's back-office and accounting systems and will be aimed at businesses spending $500,000 worth of travel per year.

Another product to be released here is QSI, an Australian-developed electronic booking system. In the US Sabre plans to roll out a wireless check-in and boarding system but Allen says it's up to New Zealand airlines and airports to decide whether they want to buy it.

New Zealand Sabre Pacific staff will remain at their existing Auckland premises. Allen will continue to manage the New Zealand business reporting to Sydney-based Col Poulter, who will remain as general manager of Sabre South Pacific.

Sabre will continue to work with TIAS to offer access to TIAS products for Sabre Pacific subscribers. TIAS will continue to provide e-business and software development services.

Meanwhile, Sabre Pacific says it is unaffected by the $US3 billion deal by its US parent to sell its airline outsourcing business and its internal technology assets to Electronic Data Systems.

Allen says Sabre has two main divisions - OSS (outsourcing software solutions), which deals in airline contract management, and TMD (travel, marketing and distribution), which deals with its Travelocity B2C and GetThere B2B services. Since the 24 staff in New Zealand work in the TMD business, their posts remain unaffected.

Allen says Sabre's missing out on a recent $125 million deal to supply reservations systems to Air New Zealand did not financially harm the company, though winning it may have created five to 10 jobs.

Customers of Sabre Pacific include House of Travel, Passport, United and STA.

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