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Air Canada Signs with Travelport, Adopts Indirect ChannelJanuary 17, 2011 By: George Dooley
Air Canada – a founding member of the Open AXIS Group and a major architect of the Distribution 2.0 Indirect Channel model – reports it has completed rebuilding and enhancing its New AC2U airline direct connect, formerly marketed as AC2U.
The Distribution 2.0 Indirect Channel mode is meant to expand the level of airline product and service available to agencies, corporations, Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and other travel intermediaries, according to the airline.
The project, publically announced in August of last year, is now undergoing initial customer implementations, Air Canada said. The New AC2U incorporates all existing AC2U functionality, as well as added enhancements in areas such as shopping, flight changes, flight pass, and overall performance.
The new system utilizes the airline XML connectivity standard and Distribution 2.0 model supported by the Open AXIS Group.
In a related move, Air Canada and Travelport GDS have reached an agreement that enables travel agencies connected to the Travelport GDS to sell Air Canada’s full range of fares and ancillary services. To gain access to Air Canada’s full set of fares and products, Travelport has agreed to integrate with Air Canada’s New AC2U portal.
Additionally, Travelport has agreed to launch an enhanced version of its agent desktop product, Agencia, enabling Air Canada’s products and services to be displayed and sold according to Air Canada’s requirements. The addition of Travelport Agencia could increase the number of New AC2U connected agencies that will have access to Air Canada’s full range of fares and ancillary services.
“The New AC2U, and our agreement with Travelport are significant elements in the execution of our distribution strategy – to make Air Canada’s full content available to Canadian travel agencies and other distribution channels, marketed and sold in a manner consistent with Air Canada’s direct channels,” said Graham Wareham, senior director of product distribution for Air Canada. “Developing our New AC2U portal using the Open AXIS Group standard allows us to more cost-effectively expand our distribution reach, while maintaining our product uniqueness and individuality. Supporting a single connectivity distribution strategy through multiple indirect channels, including the GDS and other third parties, in a similar fashion to how we distribute through our direct channels is key for Air Canada.”
Jim Young, Executive Director of the Open AXIS Group added, “The agreement between Travelport and Air Canada demonstrates the real desire for airlines and distribution partners to work together for the benefit of their mutual customers. To have the first implementation of Distribution 2.0 between a member airline and a non-member GDS illustrates the transparency and open nature of the standard. Travelport and other AC2U distribution partners now have the technical capability to directly connect with any member airline API via the same uniform standard, and thereby, cost-effectively distribute additional airline content.”