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Sabre and South African Airways Sign PactJuly 12, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
The new global agreement signed between Sabre and South African Airways (SAA) is meant to help SAA reach new global markets and coincides with launch of Sabre Travel Network in South Africa. The agreement provides Sabre travel agencies and corporations in South Africa and around the world with access to South African’s full range of fares, schedules and availability including published fares sold through the airline’s own website and reservations offices.
“We have an agreement in place that meets the needs of our agency and corporate customers, as well as the airline. The agreement is an extension of our 20-year relationship with South African Airways, and we are especially pleased to make this announcement as we launch Sabre in the South African market,” said David Gross, Sabre Travel Network senior vice president, Supplier Distribution.
“Airlines consistently tell us that the Sabre global distribution system (GDS) is an efficient and cost effective channel for selling travel and we look forward to expanding on this in the coming years through the sale of ancillary services,” said Gross.
Theunis Potgieter, general manager of Commercial at South African Airways said the agreement with Sabre is the continuation of a long-standing partnership between the two companies.
“The Sabre GDS is an important partner for us, particularly for our distribution strategy, which will be further strengthened by their entry into the South African market. SAA constantly seeks to improve its end-to-end offering, providing a seamless experience for our customers. This represents an efficient sales channel that can be used for our travel agencies to book SAA flights,” said Potgieter.
South African Airways (SAA) is the leading carrier in Africa, serving 20 destinations across the continent, as well as major destinations within South Africa, from its hub, Johannesburg. It is a member of the largest international airline network, Star Alliance.
Sabre also said that it had entered the South African market and will be based in Bedfordview, Gauteng.
Dean Bibb, vice president Sabre Travel Network, Europe, Middle East and Africa said: “Sabre is a strong global brand, and today we enter the market as a fresh alternative for travel companies who want a partner that can provide global expertise, local knowledge, innovation and a passion for customer service.”
Sabre’s South African operation has been launched in conjunction with its partners EmQuest – part of the Emirates Group – and African-based Rogers Aviation, which will act as the main distributor in the market. The partnership allows Sabre to combine its global expertise with local experience and knowledge – an essential requirement for Sabre to meet the needs of the local market.
“Our collaboration with EmQuest and Rogers Aviation means South African agencies will profit from Sabre’s global reach and the partnership of a local specialist. We want to work with travel agents whose priority is impeccable customer service and sustained growth.”
“The travel industry in South Africa has grown in recent years, and travelers have a burgeoning appetite for new tools such as mobile services and social media. Every year Sabre invests hundreds of millions of dollars in developing and delivering innovative technology that helps agencies accelerate their business and enhance customer service,” said Bibb.
Sabre enters the market with its award-winning Sabre Red total travel solution, designed for corporate and leisure travel agencies to manage every part of their business. At the heart of this is the Sabre Red Workspace, a highly configurable platform for travel agencies to shop, book and manage travel, while delivering excellent customer service.
Sabre will also make South Africa the first country to launch its new graphical view in the Sabre Red Workspace. This provides agents the option to shop, book and manage travel in a graphical setting. Using this, agents will be able to book air, car and hotel using format-free, point-and-click functionality, making training on the Sabre system, whether for a novice or seasoned agent, simple and easy.
More experienced agents can speed through bookings using both the new graphical view and traditional ‘classic view’ format. The company will also launch a range of mobile, social media, business intelligence, travel security, and efficiency tools for agencies.
Customers of Sabre will be supported by a local customer support team, located in Johannesburg, and benefit from the out-of-hours support provided by Sabre’s global network.