G2 SwitchWorks & ITA Software Discuss ‘The Next Big Thing’ in Airline Distribution at CASMA Conference; Will Lower Cost and More Technology Be the Model?

NEW YORK, Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ — CASMA (Computerized Airline Sales & Marketing Association) will explore the challenges of the new emerging business model in the Global Distribution Systems (GDS) space with two companies that claim they have a better plan that costs less. Join Jeremy Wertheimer, president and CEO, ITA Software; Michael Harbin, vice president, G2 SwitchWorks; and, Steve Jarvis, staff vice president, Alaska Airlines; and, Derek Lewitton, director, Distribution Strategy, United Airlines at 1:00 p.m. Monday, March 21 for the opening session of the Spring 2005 Conference at the Marriott Financial District, New York.

This interactive Town-Hall may need FDNY support as the sparks are guaranteed to fly between the “New GDS” and the traditional GDS’s, who dominate today’s airline distribution market. The Town Hall format will enable conference attendees to ask questions of the panelists to help them separate fact from fiction and business marketing from business modeling.

ITA Software and G2Switchworks claim to be building systems to enable airlines to distribute their products through travel agencies at a fraction of the cost of a legacy GDS. Airlines distribute airline seats through fare schedules and ticket prices listed in various GDS’s most of which were created by the airlines in the mid-1970′s. Travel agencies continue to produce more than half of airline bookings through corporate business travel in the US and a greater percentage worldwide.

Key questions include: If everyone is getting a cut where are the savings for the airlines? What warranties do the new entrants bring in guaranteeing booking and ticketing accuracy for the airlines? What benefits do corporations have to require adoption of alternative distribution channels? As travel agents will not support multiple channels within their office, when do the alternative distribution channels simply become another GDS? What will be included in the first release? Will it work?

This industry critical discussion will take place in front of more than 30 airlines including American Airlines (NYSE:AMR) , British Airways (NYSE:BAB) , Northwest Airlines (NASDAQ:NWAC) , America West (NYSE:AWA) United Airlines (BULLETIN BOARD: UALAQ) , Air Canada, Korean Air, and Alitalia.

Contact Richard Lowry, CASMA Secretary at Richard_lowry@usairways.com to register for two free press-passes. http://www.casma.org/.

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