Friday, July 02, 2010

Google weighs into airfare market

News out of the United States that Google has entered the online travel market, buying ITA Software, a flight information software company, for $US700 million.

The move to acquire Massachusetts-based ITA will see Google muscle into a market controlled by Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz, Microsoft's Bing Travel and other sites.

The web search giant said its acquisition of ITA "will create a new, easier way for users to find better flight information online".

"The acquisition will benefit passengers, airlines and online travel agencies by making it easier for users to comparison shop for flights and air fares," Google said in a statement.

"Airline travel and search are a terrific opportunity for more innovation, more investment and more interesting products,"
Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said in a conference call.

"There's clearly more room for competition and innovation here."

Google stressed that it "won't be setting air fare prices and has no plans to sell airline tickets to consumers”.

"Our goal is to build a tool that drives more traffic to airline and online travel agency sites where customers can purchase tickets," the company said.

ITA specialises in organising airline data, including flight times, availability and prices.

Bing, Kayak, Orbitz and TripAdvisor are among ITA's present customers and Google said it looked forward to working with them and will "honor all existing agreements".

Google vice president Marissa Mayer said nearly half of all airline tickets are now sold online and Google said requests for travel-related information are among the highest-volume queries received at the search engine.

"But for many people, finding the right flight at the best price is a frustrating experience," Mayer said.

Source : TravelMole
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