03 October 2007

Tony Ryan 1936-2007

A canny Irishman who pioneered the core of Aircraft leasing with GPA in the 1970s and at the same time founded the airline that pioneered low cost - Ryanair has died aged 71.

He founded GPA - Guiness Peat Aviation in 1975 only to see it come crashing down in 1992.
Of course and perhaps in hindsight one his greatest achievements may end up being his choice of the man who he hired to run his airline. While not the man to fully benefit from his core ideas - he nevertheless was a true pioneer in Airline commerce. As Michael O'Leary described his mentor and family friend yesterdayas "one of the greatest Irishmen of the 20th century."

He should be remembered as such.

Sabre and EDS extend Outsource Agreement to 2014

Citing the relationship as contributing to Sabre's continued business transformation, the two Dallas area based companies have extended their agreement for another 6 years.

Probably business as usual, there is no need for Sabre to re-enter the mainframe business or go back to managing the "bunker" in Tulsa.

However there is a bit of under the covers work that is interesting - mostly in what was not said rather than the rah rah announcement.

For some time Sabre (which BTW stands for S-emi A-utomated B-usiness R-esearch E-nvironment) has been looking at what to do with its aging core platform. With Travelocity businesses (including LastMinute.com) on a much better footing and driving boat loads of transactions - now is the time to look at the other major parts of the business, namely the airline reservations and the GDS services.

Sabre's airline reservations business reached a peak with the US Airways outsource (long before bankruptcy #1). Since then they have lost market and mind share to the upstart Amadeus and its ALTEA (I don’t have the acronym) business. Carefully grabbing outsource deals from first Qantas and then BA, Amadeus has demolished the legacy infrastructure providers. The last casualty being Lufthansa Systems which closed down its FACE project during the summer. With astounding success, Amadeus now provides services to most of the world's top airlines. They are to be complemented on an incredible sales success. But the delivery is long from over. With a significant gestation period and a fall back to the use of BABS as the master inventory system, the Amadeus team has a very steep hill to climb to master all of these new customers. Whither Sabre in all this?

Sabre now needs a new system. There has been much talk and rumour of a deal with Unisys (the bride/mother left at the altar after Lufthansa Systems FACE project was cancelled). The rumours have yet to be verified but the sources are sound. Build it or Buy it? No trivial task whichever one is chosen. No army of Indian outsourced programmers is going to make this one easy. Whatever happens, there needs to be a new core and its needed soon or Sabre could lose its anchor customer American Airlines, in much the same way as Cendant/Travelport lost United Airlines to the STAR Alliance/Amadeus CITP - Common Information Technology Platform.

So chaps what's it to be? There are still some nice plumbs sitting on the table waiting to be eaten. If not, heaven forbid will the business go to AiRes or ITA, even Navitaire? Time's awastin'



02 October 2007

And today's newest Travel plyer is.... Auntie Beeb!

The venerable BBC - bastion of Britishness is now a major player in worldwide travel. How come? They just bought a large chunk (majority share) in Lonely planet.

As a major provider of content worldwide and one of the best and most trusted sources of travel content - this is a natural tie up. The Beeb wins on 3 fronts:

1. Great content for TV - an adjunct to their various travel programs and of course Mr Palin.
2. Great print and core content written in their iconic style that transcends natural tribalism
3. A wealth of existing relationships

For Lonely Planet - it takes it to the next level. Lets just hope they dont screw it up

01 October 2007

Amadeus targeting Worldspan and Galileo with Sleeze

Well it looks like the gloves are off...

Amadeus this past week unleashed its own version of a Sleeze campaign by sending out large boxes of emptiness to Galileo and Worldspan subscribers.
A message has gone out from the combined WSP/Gal sales HQ to the troops as follows: I quote verbatim
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2007 00:53:18 +0000 North American Sales Teams: Please be aware that Amadeus has launched a very aggressive marketing campaign targeting our customers. In some instances, they are sending customers an oversized cardboard box that is empty except for a large banner (pictures below). The wording on the box points the reader to the following website with a presentation that makes numerous assumptions about Travelport's acquisition of Worldspan. http://www.yougettochoose.com/Choice/ This is a very aggressive campaign aimed at capitalizing on the fear, uncer! tainty and doubt that some of our customers may be experiencing. Rather than respond to this attack directly which could serve to validate their claims, we will take the high road and continue focusing on the business of servicing our clients. Instead, we encourage you to engage with your clients and let them see through our actions how ridiculous Amadeus' claims are. You may also choose to point out that Amadeus must be quite threatened by the new Travelport GDS if they went to the expense and trouble of shipping empty, overly-large boxes to our travel agencies all over the United States. You can point out that Travelport would not use our marketing monies in such a frivolous manner. Additionally, we are planning a creative advertising and email campaign in the coming weeks that will set the stage for our communication to customers and the industry at-large. Thanks for your support. Cheryl and Erin
Sleeze? You be the judge

So you think the 787 will be delivered on time?

Then you my friend are in the minority - at least according to the site Bet2give.com. https://bet2give.com/b2g/market/linear/market.html?symbol=Boeing787onTime

Here you can see what REAL people are saying about the odds of Boeing delivering on time. Having spoken to many industry insiders (including some at the manufacturer itself) my best summation of the information is that there is NO WAY Boeing will be able to either:
A) Deliver its first aircraft on time - fully certified in all jurisdictions
B) Maintain the delivery schedule as proposed in the first 12 months.

So if you want to track this then go to the website and check it out. It will be interesting to see what happens