Galileo to revamp its global travel network

Galileo International, which runs one of the biggest travel reservation systems, last week announced that it will replace its proprietary global network with an IP network built for speed and more predictable performance.

The IP network is expected to save Galileo $15 million to $20 million in annual operating costs over the legacy network, said Ron Thornhill, president and CEO of Quantitude. Quantitude is a new wholly owned subsidiary of Galileo that will manage the network.

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Thornhill, architect of the new wide-area network, said it was designed for optimum performance and reliability, a significant improvement over the patchwork legacy network and also cheaper to operate.

Galileo said the new network would serve 40,000 travel agents and 500 travel service providers worldwide.

Construction, which is scheduled to take place during the next three years, won't disrupt operations, Thornhill said. Network hubs are planned in 300 cities around the world and will employ network switches and routers from Cisco Systems.

Quantitude said it is working on a deal with AT&T to help construct the network and to locate it's equipment in AT&T facilities. AT&T spokesman Mike Cuno said terms of the deal aren't complete.

The parties wouldn't disclose the cost of building the new IP-based network.

Besides offering enhanced services to Galileo's customers, Quantitude will also offer data, voice and fax network services to corporate customers in its hub cities in 106 countries, Thornhill said.

David Endicott, vice president of rival Sabre, said he had no comment on Galileo's announcement except that most travel reservation networks, including Sabre's, are moving to an IP-based infrastructure.

Other Galileo competitors include Amadeus Global Travel Distribution in Madrid and Worldspan in Atlanta.

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