Sabre Airline Solutions Advises AACO and Six Arab Carriers on the Creation of a Pan-Arab Airlines Alliance, “Arabesk”; Consulting Group Guides Distinctive Opportunity for Competing Middle Eastern Carriers to Better Leverage Network Synergies

Sabre Airline Solutions and the Arab Air Carriers
Organization (AACO), in close coordination with six Arab airlines, are
studying the creation of a new ground-breaking alliance.

Egypt Air, Gulf Air, Middle East Airlines, Oman Air, Royal
Jordanian Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines are participating in the
study to create “Arabesk,” the first airline alliance that coordinates
the schedules of six close competitors. The goal of creating this
pan-Arab alliance is to provide financial benefits that the carriers
could not achieve individually.

According to Nejib Ben-Khedher, senior vice president of the
consulting group at Sabre Airline Solutions, “There has always been a
collective wisdom that close competitors in a region cannot cooperate
effectively because they compete for the same passengers. Arabesk
challenges this perception by ensuring that the cooperation occurs on
schedules, while allowing free and open competition on pricing between
the members for the pool of passengers. We expect this to actively
stimulate the growth of traffic in the region and improve the market
share of each of the members.”

These benefits are being achieved by providing better separation
of services, reducing the duplication of capacity, linking networks
and destinations, generating market demand through improved customer
connectivity and maximizing capacity through route sharing and
rationalization. The combined network of the six carriers totals over
5,000 departures each week reaching from North America to the Far
East, giving vast potential to the alliance.

“AACO is very pleased to work with Sabre Airline Solutions in
establishing this model that improves the linkages between the
networks of six of our key members,” said Abdul Wahab Teffaha,
Secretary General of the AACO. “Arabesk is an innovative initiative
which will strengthen the competitiveness of our members as a whole
and provide better connectivity for travelers throughout the world and
within the region. While many of the airlines involved in this
alliance were competing with each other, larger, more powerful
airlines and alliances were being established and set to grow.

“With the creation of Arabesk, these airlines intend to cooperate
and compete directly with larger carriers/alliances with a combined
network, while still competing with each other for passengers based on
a competitive pricing policy. Passengers will therefore be attracted
to Arabesk because of its network coverage and the competitive prices.
This is a truly smart solution to a real problem that has eluded
resolution by the industry,” Teffaha further noted.

Arabesk is being created on a strong analysis base. Sabre Airline
Solutions is using its AirFlite suite of advanced network analysis
tools, including Schedule Manager, Profit Manager and Fleet Manager in
order to optimize the schedules of the six participating carriers. In
addition, Sabre Airline Solutions is using its unique data sources,
including its Global Demand Dataset (“GDD”) to ensure that the
forecasted benefits are achieved.

“Our tools are being used in an innovative manner to create one
‘virtual schedule’ that combines the networks of the participating
carriers. By optimizing this schedule, the most profitable network for
all of the carriers can be determined,” says Ben-Khedher.

“AACO is dedicated to bring benefits to its members,” Teffaha
continued. “In the past, these benefits have focused on cost
reductions and creating supplementary revenues. With the creation of
Arabesk, AACO is helping its members to grow market share and
stimulate revenues. We trust that this will benefit the participating
carriers and their passengers.”

“This is also a great opportunity to leverage our relationship
with AACO to create increased synergies within the region, added
Ben-Khedher. “Unlike global alliances where major players drive the
strategy, Arabesk will treat each participating carrier as equal and
the whole as if it were one ‘virtual airline.’ The common brand has
the ability to improve the profitability of each member by increasing
revenues while reducing costs. AACO is key to the success of Arabesk,
because this industry body will help resolve disagreements while
ensuring that all participants have an equal voice in the alliance”.

“Arabesk is ultimately about successful growth and profitability
for our members,” said Teffaha. “Therefore, we welcome additional
participants who add value to the alliance. With the help of Sabre
Airline Solutions, we are hoping to forge something truly unique and
ground-breaking for the industry.”

The establishment of the Middle Eastern virtual alliance further
expands Sabre Airline Solutions’ presence in the region following
recent contract announcements with Gulf Air, Egypt Air and Oman Air.

About Sabre Airline Solutions

Sabre Airline Solutions, a Sabre Holdings company, is the world’s
largest provider of software products; reservations, departure control
systems and other passenger management systems; and consulting
services that help airlines simplify operations and lower costs. Sabre
Airline Solutions’ proven leadership is demonstrated by the growing
number of airlines that leverage the technology and services: More
than 200 airlines worldwide use Sabre Airline Solutions’ broad
portfolio of smart solutions for decision-support tools to increase
revenues and improve operations. More than 500 contracts worldwide
were signed in 2004 for Sabre Airline Solutions’ leading technology
solutions. More than 100 airlines worldwide rely on Sabre Airline
Solutions for passenger management solutions, with eight new carriers
choosing SabreSonic, the first new generation reservations system
offered in the market, in 2004 and six carrier renewals. In addition,
more than 100 clients worldwide have turned to the Sabre Airline
Solutions consulting group for strategic, commercial and operational

Sabre Holdings Corporation (NYSE:TSG) is a world leader in travel
commerce, retailing travel products and providing distribution and
technology solutions for the travel industry. More information about
Sabre Holdings is available at

About Arab Air Carriers Organization

The Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) is an important
association in the growth regions of the Middle East and North Africa.
Alongside traditional activities, it is helping member airlines to
achieve considerable savings in their daily operations through joint
projects. AACO’s mission is to Promote Cooperation amongst Arab
Airlines and to Serve their Common Interests through Service

As the association of airlines based in Arab League member states,
AACO represents 23 airlines in the Middle East and North Africa
regions. The Beirut-based organization, established in 1965, aims to
promote the highest safety standards, to provide a framework for a
better economic environment for airline operations, to promote high
standards of consumer driven services, to provide high quality and
cost effective framework for human resources development, to invest in
the synergy of interaction between members through establishment of
joint projects

AACO has developed a strategy based on five pillars: cost
reduction, strengthening marketing, network strategy, aviation
regulations and services

More information about the Arab Air Carriers Organization is
available at

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AirFlite and SabreSonic are trademarks and/or service marks of an
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SOURCE: Sabre Airline Solutions

Sabre Airline Solutions, Southlake
Media Contact
Kathryn Hayden, 682-605-2252