In an announcement April 4, Cheryl Smith, WestJet CIO, confirmed that the Canadian airline has selected the Datalex Travel Distribution Platform “as our core e-commerce platform in support of all current and many new innovative shopping and reward features that we plan to roll out in the coming months.”
Beyond that, WestJet was fairly mum about the agreement, which was signed last year and revealed in Datalex’s 2011 financial statement last week.
Datalex will be responsible for all of WestJet’s “direct-channel shopping and merchandising for all products and services,” says Ornagh Hoban, a Datalex spokesperson.
Sabre, too, wasn’t very effusive about the change.
“SabreSonic Web is a component of our res system that airlines can choose to use or not,” says Nancy St. Pierre, a Sabre spokeswoman. “Our res system works with an airline’s direct channel regardless of provider.
“Some airlines develop and operate their website internally, some use third party vendors for their website. WestJet has chosen to use Datalex to develop and operate their website. SabreSonic CSS will work with that website.”
The transition from Sabre to Datalex for e-commerce services points to what some would argue are inefficiencies in the way some of the big res-system providers handle merchandising, although WestJet hasn’t publicly articulated any such reasoning.
In fact, in a 2010 annual report, WestJet lauded the switch to SabreSonic for reservation system services and pointed to increased “web-based opportunities and functionality for earning ancillary revenue as well as adding four additional interline agreements, including our first with a U.S. carrier, American Airlines.”
But, now WestJet is looking for enhanced e-commerce functionality through the Datalex platform.
Datalex’s airline customers for its Travel Distribution Platform, in addition to WestJet, include Aer Lingus, Air China, Air Malta, United Airlines, Copa Airlines, Frontier Airlines Philippines Airlines, Singapore Airlines and South African Airways.
In other news, Datalex reported last week that it recorded a $3.9 million loss in 2011, in part because of a one-time $2.1 million write-off of receivables and unrecovered expenditures arising out of the conclusion of litigation with Flight Centre.
Datalex also took a one-time charge of $400,000 against a receivable from Spanair, which ceased operating a couple of months ago.
Datalex’s 201 revenue increased 4% to $28 million.