Sabre expects its $360 million acquisition of Farelogix to close in the "mid part of the year," later than expected, as the U.S. Department of Justice takes a deeper look at the proposed transaction, Sabre president and CEO Sean Menke said Tuesday during the company's fourth-quarter financial results call.
BCD Travel early next year plans to pilot New Distribution Capability bookings with Lufthansa Group and two undisclosed non-global distribution system aggregators.
The number of trips processed by business travel agencies and settled through ARC during the fourth quarter fell 2.6 percent year over year. The quarter was jagged, with a year-over-year decline in trip volume in October, a year-over-year uptick in November and another fall in December. Despite unevenness in the ARC figures, major U.S. airlines said business travel demand strengthened after the U.S. presidential election and continued into 2017.
Many of the airlines that now cost corporate clients $10 extra to book through American Express Global Business Travel would call themselves "low-cost carriers." Amex GBT does not agree. The travel management company deems airlines that don't adopt industry standards on fare filing, booking and settlement to be "high-cost," and it has embarked on a "comprehensive" global program to pass booking and processing costs to customers.
Like Sabre, Travelport reported softness in U.S. global distribution system bookings during the third quarter, especially for corporate travel. While Sabre said strength built in the first month of the fourth quarter, Travelport CEO Gordon Wilson doesn't see evidence of improvement.
Sabre signed more than 40 airlines to full content global distribution agreements in 2017, demonstrating "that many carriers around the world like the model the way it is," Sabre president and CEO Sean Menke said during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call.
The European Commission is reviewing "all provisions" of its code of conduct for computerized reservations systems, which is the governing regulation for global distribution systems in the European Union.
The global distribution system market was slow going for Amadeus and Sabre during the second quarter, but each reported slight growth in bookings. It was slower still for Travelport, which reported no growth of reported segments—including air, car and hotel bookings—processed through its GDSs on a year-over-year basis.
Tech companies that help travel programs incentivize employees to book at lower prices have been attracting fresh funding. TripActions announced $51 million of Series B financing in March, and Rocketrip won $15 million of Series C financing in April. Those follow TravelBank's $25 million Series B funding last year for its travel booking and expense technology that also promotes a rewards program for travelers who beat budgets.