NEW YORK (CNNfn) - American Airlines has agreed to join other airlines, car-rental agencies and hotels in offering direct corporate travel services through the GetThere Inc. business-to-business portal, GetThere said Monday.|
American, the world's second-largest airline, will join United Airlines Corp. (UAL: Research, Estimates), Trans World Airlines Inc. (TWA: Research, Estimates), Avis Corp. (AVI: Research, Estimates), Marriott International Inc. (MAR: Research, Estimates), and others in the GetThere alliance in allowing companies to bypass traditional travel-arrangement resources for cheaper direct services online.
"American's participation ... reinforces that the B2B travel market is going through a significant change, and the GetThere marketplace is at the center," Gadi Maier, GetThere's chief executive officer, said.
Last month's announcement by travel service Sabre Holdings Corp. (TSG: Research, Estimates) - formerly a unit of American's parent company AMR Corp. (AMR: Research, Estimates) - that it was buying GetThere for $57 million was another indication that marketing travel services directly to companies, rather than through travel agents or other intermediaries, is gaining favor.
The market, which GetThere said is the largest of its kind, provides online travel procurement to corporations that together spend nearly $10 billion on travel annually, including Boeing Co. (BA: Research, Estimates), Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO: Research, Estimates) and Nike Inc. (NKE: Research, Estimates).
Shares in the Menlo Park, Calif.-based GetThere (GTHR: Research, Estimates) were trading down 13 cents at $17.56 in Monday trading. Shares in Fort Worth, Tex.-based AMR were trading down 69 cents at $32.25.
-- from staff and wire reports