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Airlines join in Web portal
November 9, 1999: 11:25 a.m. ET

United, Delta, Northwest, Continental to offer joint Internet travel site in 2000
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Four of the nation's five largest passenger airlines are joining forces to provide a multi-carrier Internet travel portal sometime early next year.
     The plans for the yet-unnamed site were announced Tuesday by United Airlines, the world's largest carrier which is owned by UAL Corp. (UAL), along with the third-largest U.S. carrier, Delta Air Lines (DAL), number-four carrier Northwest Airlines (NWAC), and Continental Airlines (CAL), the fifth-largest carrier.
     The airlines say they are looking for additional partners as well, including airlines, car rental companies, hotel chains and cruise lines.
     The site plans to give access to the fares of all major airlines, and allow travelers to shop based upon either desired travel schedule or best fare available.
     "For the first time, online travel consumers will be able to compare and purchase the Internet fares offered by several airlines and travel providers by visiting just one site," said a statement from Bruce Parker, United's chief information officer and senior vice president of the company's information services division.
     Major competitors for the site include, owned by Sabre Inc. (TSG) the electronic airline reservation that is 83 percent controlled by AMR Corp. (AMR), which also owns the nation's second largest airline, American Airlines. (PCLN), the travel auction service, sold a stake to Continental earlier this year in exchange for access to low-cost seats.
     Other competitors include, a privately held company with ties to Trans World Airlines (TWA), and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), which has a major travel portal, Many of the major Internet portals have travel services as part of their offerings.
     Each of the carriers in the new joint venture plans to keep their own Web site and allow booking off their sites. The percentage of ownership between the partners and the amount being invested to create the new site were not disclosed Tuesday.
     "Each airline is making a significant investment," said Kurt Ebenhoch, spokesman for United. "What we're trying to do is make sure we're satisfying our customers' online travel needs. We expect by 2003 that 20 percent of bookings will come to us via Internet."
     The airlines have been trying to steer passengers to Internet bookings, which can be a lower-cost channel than city ticket offices or travel agents. Many are offering discounts for Internet reservations. United recently led a move, followed by most other carriers, to cut travel agents' commissions to 5 percent from 8 percent of ticket costs.
     UAL shares fell 1-3/8 to 66-7/16 in Tuesday morning trading. Delta dipped 1-3/16 to 50-13/16, Northwest slid 1/16 to 24-13/16, and Continental lost ½ to 40-7/8.Back to top


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United Airlines

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Delta Air Lines

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