Category: Archive

Aer Lingus joins European airlines in internet venture

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — Aer Lingus is joining forces with 10 other European airlines to launch an internet travel agency that will offer bargain seats and connections worldwide and extras such as insurance and hotel and car rental packages.

The move will not please travel agents, who have already seen their business squeezed by online operations offering cut-rate fares and may be challenged as noncompetitive.

The new site has not been yet been named but is expected to launched later this year.

Online booking is growing rapidly. A website page designed for Ryanair by a Dublin schoolboy and a dental student partnership has been a huge success.

The other airlines involved are British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, Iberia, Swissair, SAS, KLM, Alitalia, British Midland and Finnair.

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The new venture will be similar to a U.S. online travel reservation portal launched last month by Delta, United, Northwest and Continental.

British Airways said in a statement: "The ground-breaking site will offer independent travelers the most comprehensive and competitively priced range of flights to, from and within Europe."

BA chief executive Rod Eddington said the site "will revolutionize the way European customers arrange their travel plans.

"From the comfort of their own armchair, they’ll now have access in their own language to the biggest international route network and some of the lowest fares available, as well as a one-stop shop for all their travel needs."

The new site will be managed independently of the airlines and is expected to significantly cut the cost of selling and distributing tickets for the member companies.

The member airlines will remain competitors and will not share pricing or proprietary information with each other.

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