History of Global Distribution Systems (GDS)
In addition, there are several smaller or regional GDSs, including SITA’s Sahara, Infini (Japan), Axess (Japan), Tapas (Korea), Fantasia (South Pacific), and Abacus (Asia/Pacific) that serve interests or specific regions or countries. Though the ownership of the travel distribution companies keeps changing, let us take a closer look at ORIGIN of the four major GDSs.
Galileo global travel distribution system is also known as the Apollo system in North America and Japan. Galileo International was founded in 1993 by 11 major North American and European airlines: Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Olympic Airlines, Swissair, TAP Air Portugal, United Airlines, and US Airways. It is a major player in the GDS business throughout the world: North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia/Pacific region.
Galileo International is a diversified, global technology leader. Its core business is providing electronic global distribution services for the travel industry through its computerized reservation systems, leading-edge products and innovative Internet-based solutions. Galileo is a cautious follower when it comes to technology. However, in response to the growing demand of web-based travel, the company has established various successful relationships with entities providing Internet-based tools and services to the corporate travel market; by Sheperd Systems, an industry leader in the provision of sales and marketing intelligence systems and services within the travel industry. Galileo is a value-added distributor of travel inventory dedicated to supporting its travel agency and corporate customers and, through them, expanding traveler choice.
For more than 40 years, Sabre has been developing innovations and transforming the business of travel. From the original Sabre computer reservations system in the 1960s, to advanced airline yield management systems in the 1980s, to leading travel web sites today, Sabre technology has traveled through time, around the world, and has touched all points of the travel industry.
In July of 1996, Sabre became a separate legal entity of AMR (parent company of American Airlines), followed by a successful initial public offering in October in which AMR released approximately 18% of its shares to be publicly traded. Sabre, represented in 45 countries, is a leading provider of technology for the travel industry and provides innovative products that enable travel commerce and services, and enhance airline/supplier operations. Sabre owns Travelocity.com, the industry’s leading online consumer travel web site. Sabre also owns Get There, a provider of web-based corporate travel procurement, including the purchase of air, hotel, car, and meeting planning services.
Founded February 7, 1990, Worldspan was originally owned by affiliates of Delta Air Lines, Inc. (40%), Northwest Airlines (34%), and American Airlines, Inc. (26%). Since its 1995 advance into the world of Internet technology for the travel industry, Worldspan has successfully developed the strategies, solutions, and services to ensure the company’s long-term success in the new web-based world of travel distribution. Worldspan provides worldwide electronic distribution of travel information, Internet products and connectivity, and e-commerce capabilities for travel agencies, travel service providers, and corporations.
Worldspan has a legacy of industry firsts that are not well known. In 2001, Orbitz LLC was launched on the Internet, using Worldspan as its Internet Booking Engine, and in 2002, the launch of Worldspan ePricingSM made Worldspan the first GDS to introduce a revolutionary new multi-server-based technology, offering an unprecedented selection of pricing options to all of Worldspan’s customers.