Google looking to make big impact on airline distribution

March 7, 2012

Airline Business, February 2012

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Within five months of the ITA Software deal closing in April 2011, Google launched Google Flight Search (GFS) in the USA. GFS, which despite being live is officially still in testing, searches inventory and fares from airline websites, giving users a direct link to the airline's booking page. At the moment GFS is limited to major airlines and key domestic routes, but it includes filters so users can search by budget, departure times and location-specific tools.

Datalex CEO Cormac Whelan sees little impact so far, citing its low-key launch, its promotion of commoditisation and that airlines - the owners of the product - have not yet decided how to adopt it. "I think airlines will be a lot smarter and wiser this time around and will be less likely to let somebody else control their distribution. Longer term we think it will be a good feeder channel into the airlines direct distribution strategies…"