Air Canada, which took a $61 million write-off several months ago and scuttled a 4-year-old ITA Software project to overhaul the airline’s reservations system, apparently is ready to assist the technology firm in its efforts to pedal the Passenger Services System to other airlines.
In an ITA Software announcement about a second deal to implement ITA’s QPX pricing and shopping system across AirCanada.com and its agency websites, ITA stated: “Air Canada will provide testing and domain expertise to ITA as it completes the remaining work on its industry-changing Passenger Services System (PSS) solution.”
When asked if that work with ITA pertained to eventual implementation of the discontinued Polaris res system project, Air Canada spokesman John Reber told me:¬† ‚ÄúThe testing and domain expertise provided on PSS is to support ITA in proposals for other airlines.‚ÄĚ
That’s a very unusual stance. And, you can interpret that in a few ways.
Either there is something very special about the Air Canada-ITA relationship that goes beyond the usual parameters of technology vendor and client, or perhaps Air Canada is keeping its options open about following through on the Polaris project at a later juncture.
Would Air Canada get a piece of the business when ITA signs PSS contracts with other airlines?
This development occurs as the PSS/airline hosting¬† market in the U.S. seems to be a wide-open affair.
HP is at the beginning stages of building a new reservations platform, Jetstream, for American Airlines. The system would replace American’s long-time arrangement with its offspring, Sabre.
And, United Airlines’ transition to the Amadeus Altea platform, which would replace Travelport’s Apollo host system, is stalled.
However, Air Canada’s cancellation of the Polaris project was a major blow to ITA because it leaves the company without an existing reservations system customer.
Meanwhile, Air Canada’s implementation of ITA Software’s pricing and shopping system across the airline’s online channels — a project which is distinct from the discontinued Polaris host system job –¬† is slated for introduction in summer 2010.