Travelocity, Major Airlines Plan Japan Travel Site

TOKYO (08/16/2000) - Online airline ticketing and travel reservations Web site operator Travelocity.com LP is getting together with 13 major international airlines to launch an online travel service for the Japanese market, the partners said in a statement Tuesday.

News of the deal, which includes major Japanese airlines Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA), comes two weeks after Priceline.com Inc. announced plans to sell discount airline tickets and hotel rooms via the Web in Japan.

The new Japan venture, which has yet to be named, has some big hitters behind it. Travelocity will supply the computer system that runs the site and take a stake in the operation, while JAL and ANA are joined by 11 other major airlines as equity partners. The airlines are the following: Northwest Airlines, United Air Lines, Air New Zealand, Ansett Australia, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, Malaysia Airlines Systems, Qantas Airways, Royal Brunei Airlines and Singapore Airlines.

The site, which could begin operations as early as the end of 2000, will launch into a market that is becoming increasingly crowded.

In addition to forming a joint venture with Priceline for that company's Japanese service, Softbank Corp. earlier this year launched an online travel site with Japan Travel Bureau Inc., the nation's largest travel agency. The new companies compete with a major travel site, ISize, operated by Recruit Co.

Ltd., and other sites, such as ticketing services offered through the Web sites of major convenience stores.

Travel services emerged as one of the most popular and attractive e-commerce services in a poll conducted earlier this year by Japan's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. Almost 30 percent of people surveyed had used the Internet to book hotel rooms and 65 percent of people said they would do so in the future. Additionally, 57 percent of people said they intend to book airline tickets online.

JAL said it expects the new company to see revenues of 60 billion yen (US$555.6 million) per year five years after it begins operations.

Travelocity.com, based in Fort Worth, Texas, can be found online at http://www.travelocity.com/.

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