Valuair and Abacus sign distribution deal

Travel News Asia 23 August 2004

Abacus International officially signed Singapore-based budget airline Valuair to its distribution network on 20 August 2004, Abacus President and CEO Don Birch said today. On the first day of its cutover, it recorded an average of 20 bookings an hour.

Valuair will be fully integrated into the Abacus network from the end of August. Abacus also provides GDS services to 200 full-service network carriers serving Asia and a growing number of low-cost carriers.

"We're delighted to have Valuair on board, and look forward to helping them take advantage of the region's strong travel growth," said Mr Birch.

"Integrating Valuair bookings into the Abacus network of travel agents will enable the airline to dramatically increase its distribution footprint in Asia while maintaining its position as a value carrier," Mr Birch said.

Valuair Executive Director Jimmy Lau said the move to a GDS distribution network was a significant step in the growth of the airline.

"To ensure continued growth, it was important for us to broaden our distribution network to give us the competitive edge. Abacus provides us with an excellent value for money solution, as well as the widest travel distribution coverage in Asia Pacific," Mr Lau said.

"Our partnership with Abacus will allow us to offer our low fares to more customers and further enhance our relationship with travel agents," Mr Lau said.

By integrating with the Abacus network, customers will be able to book Valuair tickets from 10,000 Abacus-connected travel agencies throughout Asia Pacific.

"This will not only be more convenient and secure for customers, but it will provide unique content for travel agencies," said Rogelio Sarreal, Vice President, Associate Sales at Abacus.

"Travellers now have the convenience to make reservations on Valuair through their favourite Abacus travel agent, as they would with a full-service airline. There will also be significant benefits for travel agencies who will be able to make reservations on Valuair in the same system, with the same accounting and same customer records as they use for other Abacus-participating airlines," Mr Sarreal said.

Mr Birch said that Abacus was in discussions with other budget airlines about utilizing GDS services to strengthen their distribution base.

"Low cost airlines that are successful in the long term will be those that differentiate themselves from their competition and have effective distribution networks in place," said Mr Birch. "We see low-cost carriers as an exciting segment of the travel market, and have solutions designed to meet their specific needs."

Abacus and its technology partner Sabre have developed a low-cost booking solution that ties together information from an airline's distribution network and provides some management tools, rather than full GDS functionality.

"With 16 years in Asia, Abacus has the technology and the experience to deliver solutions tailored to the unique needs of the Asian travel market, and help it make the most of the region's travel growth," Mr Birch said.

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