Air Transport World

Without reservations.(reservation system at WestJet Airlines)

IF THERE IS A LESSON TO BE LEARNED IN THE RECENT setbacks for aiRES, it is that in this day and age, time stands still for no airline. That can spell trouble for vendors who try to keep up with carriers that are moving in more directions than up.

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WestJet, the Calgary-based LCC that began life as a Southwest Airlines clone (ATW, 11/06, p. 26), was to have been the launch customer for aiRES, the open-architecture reservations system developed by Trivandrum, India-based IBS Software Services and marketed by Travelport, formerly the Travel Distribution Services division of Cendant Corp. The new product, which was to replace WestJet's reservations, scheduling and check-in systems, was touted as an "innovative new passenger services platform designed to replace less flexible, more expensive, older legacy airline 'hosting' systems."

In WestJet's case, however, aiRES was tapped to replace Navitaire's OpenSkies--hardly a legacy system--that also was used by JetBlue Airways and Australia's Virgin Blue. OpenSkies was problematic for carriers like WestJet, however, because it was not designed to facilitate links to GDSs.

Travelport became involved with IBS when United Airlines and its Star Alliance partners began looking for a technology company to build a common reservations platform. United had been hosted on Travelport/Cendant's Apollo/Galileo system for decades, so Travelport had to choose between competing for the contract to build a new, very complex system or losing UA as a key customer. …

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