Farelogix adds airline-distribution maverick Al Lenza to board


If Sarah Palin and John McCain were mavericks, what kind of team will Al Lenza and Jim Davidson make?

With airline clashes with global distribution systems in the offing, Farelogix has recruited distribution maverick Al Lenza to its board for “both guidance and a provocative perspective on the changing role of distribution in the travel industry.”

Lenza has always been known for his independent and sometimes ahead-of-the-curve thinking on distribution matters and Davidson, the Farelogix CEO, pulls no punches, either.

Lenza, who headed distribution for Northwest before Delta acquired it and currently consults for United Airlines, says Farelogix’s technology is “real” and will give airlines the ability to offer ancillary services and to control whom the content is displayed to and at what price.

“This is not just a PowerPoint presentation,” says Lenza, taking a swipe at former alternative-distribution platform G2 SwitchWorks. “They [Farelogix] have stuff that works.”

Lenza made lots of headlines in 2004 while at Northwest for his ill-fated attempt to charge travel agents a shared-GDS fee if they didn’t book on the airline’s website.

Although the plan was withdrawn, Lenza says it set the stage for U.S. airlines when they reduced their GDS fees in the 2007 round of negotiations.

Controversy is in the air again as American Airlines plans to merchandise away from the GDSs using Farelogix and other outlets, and the Business Travel Coalition and ASTA allege that the airline has a “user-pay” model up its sleeves.

“The last thing you want to do is have your ancillary product be rendered into commodities,” Lenza says.

He argues that the GDSs would do just that with airlines’ merchandising efforts “and that is not going to work.”

Farelogix’s direction “is much more in sync with what most airlines want,” Lenza says.

Sandler Capital owns a majority stake in Farelogix.

Lenza joins the following other recently appointed Farelogix board members: Michael Marocco, head of private equity at Sandler Capital; Ellen Keszler, past president of Travelocity Business; and Bonnie Reitz, retired senior vice president of marketing at Continental Airlines.

Other board members include Bert Amato, a technology professional and investor; William Bianco, managing director at Sandler Capital; and Rick Gossage, Farelogix founder.

Lenza says he is not an investor in Farelogix.

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Dennis Schaal

About the Writer :: Dennis Schaal

Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.



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