Japan Airlines (JAL) and Travelport Worldwide have agreed to form a joint venture to take ownership of Travelport Japan KK and combine it with the airline’s subsidiary Axess International Network to launch a Global Distribution System (GDS) tailored to the Japanese travel industry.
The proposed joint venture, which will operate under the brand name Travelport Axess, will continue to offer travel agents services through Axess’s GDS platform while also providing access to Travelport’s Apollo and Galileo platforms.
Travelport Axess will provide online, mobile and corporate travel solutions, including global booking and expense management tools, as well as access to New Distribution Capability (NDC) content, according to the joint venture partners.
The platform will be run by a team of Japan-based service agents and product specialists.
The partnership says it aims to become the leading GDS provider in Japan.
Travelport has worked closely with Axess to provide core systems for the platform since 2012.
Yoriyuki Kashiwagi, executive officer of international passenger sales at JAL, said: “We believe that the future of travel will be transformed by technological innovation. I am confident that Travelport Axess will be able to help Japanese travel agents to respond to growing global demands by offering services based on state-of-the-art technology.”
Gordon Wilson, president and CEO of Travelport, added: “This announcement and our ongoing partnership with Japan Airlines is a significant advance in the provision of state-of-the-art technology for the Japanese travel industry. We are very excited about the growth opportunities it presents for our mutual travel agency customers.”
Under the agreement, Travelport will hold a majority stake in Travelport Axess, with JAL controlling the remaining stake and “playing an active role in the joint venture”. Travelport Japan and Axess will continue to operate independently, with a gradual programme of integration to combine the two organisations starting later this year. The deal is expected to be completed on 1 June.