November 2022, Virtual
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
Representatives of GNEs, the alternatives to the traditional GDSs, are in talks with several European carriers. The bulk of the talks are with low cost carriers (LCCs). Alex Cruz, a partner with Accenture's Custom Centric Aviation practice in EMEA and an expert on GDSs, told BTE that the three US GNEs, G2 SwitchWorks, ITA Software and Farelogix “have been speaking informally with different carriers in Europe about the direct connect capability.”Another US company Outtask which offers connections to GDSs, GNEs, direct connect capabilities and web fares through its online booking tool Cliqbook also said it was in talks with 26 airlines worldwide including “many in Europe.” Ross Atkinson, its executive vp marketing, said among the airlines were KLM and Singapore Airlines (SIA) which are both looking for a direct connect capability. Outtask said deals for direct connect capabilities are likely to be signed by the end of August with easyJet, British Midland bmi and Germanwings. Mr Atkinson said: “The majority of carriers are not just looking for a direct connect. They are also looking to reclaim their relationship with the traveller and the corporate and many are taking strides in offering things like concessions or incentives in bookings in their preferred distribution channels.”He said that SIA had indicated that it not just inquiring on its own behalf but also for the Star Alliance which is investigating the possibility of switching to GNEs.But Mr Cruz warned: “The success and penetration of such technology in Europe depends on its success in the US.“We will only know by summer 2006 when all the DCA contracts have been negotiated between airlines and GDSs and by then we will know if G2 has been successful in their recently signed contract.“European landscape if more complex with more fragmentation of airlines across more countries, different travel trade dynamics and a few dominating distributors who will do everything possible to protect disintermediation wherever possible.”* The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and G2 SwitchWorks have ended their row over airlines' stake in the GNE. The holding by seven US carriers in G2 is capped at 16% with no domestic airline owning more than 5%.