Costs Limit JetBlue-Aer Lingus Partnership to Web

JetBlue Airways and Aer Lingus on Friday officially announced a cross-marketing pact allowing customers to book single itineraries using the services of both carriers. Citing costs, a JetBlue spokesperson confirmed that reservations involving both the U.S. and Irish airlines can only made through the Aer Lingus Web site.

The "easy-to-use booking process" will go live on on April 3, and customers booking on "will be quickly transferred with one click to to complete their booking," according to the companies.

"We were looking for an innovative way to partner that would not bring a lot of behind-the-scenes costs," according to the JetBlue spokesperson. When asked if the decision not to make joint itineraries available through global distribution systems was philosophical or technical, the spokesperson replied, "Probably a little of both," adding that there are no current plans to include those channels. "This made sense for the first iteration," he said, "and we'll see where it goes from there."

Building codeshare relationships has proven tricky for some low-cost carriers, given the complexities added to their systems.

Southwest Airlines, for example, has not included ATA Airlines codeshare flights in discount negotiations with corporate clients. When asked why, Southwest director of corporate sales and distribution Rob Brown also said the reasons are both technical and philosophical. Southwest CEO Gary Kelly last year said the carrier's reservations and revenue accounting systems would need upgrading to handle codeshare partnerships.

AirTran Airways could not seriously entertain codeshare discussions with other airlines until it updated its res system. It began doing that in 2006 by implementing New Skies furnished by Navitaire.