US Travelport takes flight with SAA

Travelport, a US-based provider of computerised registration systems and other services to the travel industry, has acquired Galileo Southern Africa for an undisclosed fee.

The purchase agreement incorporates full content from South African Airways (SAA) to all Travelport-connected travel agents worldwide.

Galileo Southern Africa is the global distribution system (GDS) distribution arm which SAA has been operating in the region for the past 20 years.

Travelport says it set up a direct Worldspan operation for travel agents in South Africa in 2010, and the acquisition of the Galileo GDS business marks the continuation of its investment in the region, and plans to extend the products and services provided to local travel agents.

The new, combined entity will be known as Travelport Southern Africa.

As part of the agreement, a new five-year full content agreement has also been signed and will provide all Travelport-connected travel agents with full access to SAA’s fully-published fares and inventory, as well as guaranteeing functionality parity with all other distribution channels.

“We now feel the time is right to extend our Travelport operations in the region and provide Galileo-connected travel agents in Southern Africa with the same direct distribution relationship that we provide to our Worldspan subscribers,” said Mark Meehan, managing director for Travelport Africa.

“This change to our business model will enable us to work directly with all our local customers in the region to roll out relevant new GDS services and technology. This is also a long-term investment decision and builds on the recently expanded distributor network we have established across much of Africa with Johannesburg as a key regional hub,” he continued.

Theunis Potgieter, general manager of commercial at SAA added: “As we focus on our airline operations, we will continue to work closely with Travelport as a valued partner to distribute our airfares to the global travel industry.”

“SAA will also continue to maintain very close relations with the travel trade in Southern Africa. The airline wishes to thank its staff at Galileo for their hard work and support while SAA operated Galileo Southern Africa,” concluded Potgieter.

Travelport is a broad-based business services company and a provider of critical transaction-processing solutions to companies operating in the global travel industry.

With a presence in over 170 countries, approximately 3,500 employees and 2011 net revenue of $2.0 billion, Travelport is comprised of the GDS business, which includes the Galileo and Worldspan brands, and its Airline IT Solutions business.

Galileo provides the the travel industry in Southern Africa with accurate access to global travel inventory, schedules, pricing information, and transaction processing systems.

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US Travelport takes flight with SAA