Flight Site Orbitz Names Swissair's Katz CEO

BOSTON (07/06/2000) - Jeffrey Katz, chief executive officer of Swissair AG, stepped down this week to take the top job at Orbitz.com, a travel Web site being developed by five major airlines.

Swissair officials confirmed on Wednesday that Katz had stepped down after 3-and-a-half years of service.

Katz, 45, started his new duties Thursday as president and CEO of Orbitz, which was started by UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, Delta Airlines Inc., Continental Airlines Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp.

Twenty-five other airlines will join as affiliate partners.

Katz is a former executive with American Airlines and former head of Sabre Holdings Corp.'s computerized reservation systems venture.

Orbitz.com is expected to compete against other travel sites like Travelocity Inc., owned by Microsoft Corp., and Expedia Inc. Its site will allow consumers neutral or unbiased views of all available travel fares, the company said.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee are investigating Orbitz.com for possible antitrust issues. Senate Commerce Committee members are expected to review the Orbitz case in the next weeks.

Orbitz.com plans to launch its site later this summer. The company is currently based in Chicago. Stacey Spencer, a Orbitz spokeswoman, said the company has approximately 10 employees and is growing.

Orbitz.com, in Chicago, can be reached at http://www.orbitz.com/.

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