Sabre Airline Solutions Launches Breakthrough SabreSonic Inventory for Real-Time Airline Seat Inventory Management and Customer Based Dynamic Availability

Advanced Inventory Management Leverages Open Systems Technology to Provide Fast, Flexible Solution for Addressing Challenges of Customer Segmentation and Inventory Processing for All Distribution Channels

SOUTHLAKE, Texas, Mar 30, 2004 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Sabre Airline Solutions announced today the implementation of newly launched SabreSonic Inventory, an advanced inventory management solution that leverages open systems technology. The system assures revenue integrity through real-time application of inventory controls, while addressing the dramatic growth of flight availability requests. The ability to evaluate reservation requests in real time and maximize total revenue of the entire flight network through SabreSonic Inventory is considered a breakthrough in revenue management.

Airlines are looking for ways to address the increasing demands on their current technology due to the changing customer behavior toward shopping and the growth in online activity. Customers are becoming increasingly demanding on both itinerary and price and have learned to dictate conditions when shopping for travel online. The conditions customers are seeking include the best alternatives in terms of routing, time and date of travel, and price. This customer evolution has led to the requirement for as many as 100+ flight itinerary options before purchasing travel. As a result, flight availability requests continue to grow at higher multiples relative to bookings.

“Airlines are faced with increasingly bargain-minded online shoppers, which is driving down yields and increasing processing costs,” said Gianni Marostica, president of Airline Passenger Solutions for Sabre Airline Solutions. “We developed SabreSonic Inventory to address the challenges airlines face from the impact of these trends.”

SabreSonic Inventory provides unprecedented flexibility and point-of-sale based inventory controls that can increase airlines’ overall revenue and yields. In addition, SabreSonic Inventory utilizes a new approach to availability processing that reduces costs by as much as 75 percent and maintains revenue integrity through real-time application of inventory controls. The new open systems architecture provides up to 70 percent savings in inventory system maintenance and development costs.

One of the breakthrough developments of SabreSonic Inventory is the ability to provide real-time availability. An economic-based algorithm determines seat availability on the airline’s flights and dates as part of a response to either an availability or a booking request. SabreSonic Inventory maintains a current view of the airline’s inventory by processing all seat sell and cancel activity to update its flight/date booking counts. “Airlines can quickly implement or test new inventory management methodologies, making it easier to modify and enhance inventory functions in order to meet both market and airline profitability needs,” explained Marostica.

“Better customer segmentation and increased flexibility via the SabreSonic Inventory open systems platform are the characteristics that airlines need to respond to the ever increasing customer demands for travel. SabreSonic Inventory provides this performance and flexibility for carriers of all sizes,” said Gianni Marostica. “We are the constant innovators in the field of yield and revenue management, and SabreSonic Inventory carries on that tradition by providing a platform for carriers to migrate to a customer- centric, CRM-based revenue management methodology.”

SabreSonic Inventory is a key part of the recent release of the SabreSonic new generation line-up of open-systems passenger management solutions. The open-systems underpinning of the SabreSonic suite provides airlines with the flexibility to acquire improved passenger management functionality on a completely integrated or modular basis to match their evolving needs. SabreSonic Inventory is one of the many components of the SabreSonic suite that is available to all airlines, including carriers that are not hosted on Sabre Airline Solutions today.

Air France and Cathay Pacific Airways have implemented Sabre Airline Solutions’ SabreSonic Inventory as a way to maximize revenues, lower IT costs, gain more flexibility and speed to market, and lay the groundwork for cost- effective future inventory product development efforts. Air France began using an earlier version of the system in 1996 and witnessed immediate results quickly.

According to Air France, the airline chose SabreSonic Inventory to help increase its revenues and reduce costs. “In our search for an O&D-oriented real-time inventory control solution, we found SabreSonic Inventory to be the most cost-effective solution for Air France,” said Air France AP specialist Pierre Gandois. “Our goal to increase Air France’s revenue using this tool has been achieved as expected.”

Additionally, Air France cited the benefits of the open systems platform that underpins the SabreSonic Inventory solution. “We see two key benefits to using open systems technology,” Gandois continued. “First, it provides various and efficient solutions to have an inventory control system interfaced with other systems of different natures, both open-systems based and not. Also, SabreSonic Inventory offers a large variety of standard tools and processes that are having a good cost/benefit ratio in terms of development and implementation.”

Gandois reported that in 2003, the average number of monthly queries to the SabreSonic Inventory system processed for Air France represented more than 60 million availability requests and 30 million booking requests.

SabreSonic Inventory Benefits

SabreSonic Inventory leverages the benefits of its open systems architecture to provide 24×7, real-time transaction processing. The system operates on a Unix platform and connects directly to the computer reservations system (CRS). Outdated leg and segment inventory processing within the CRS is bypassed and replaced with full origin-destination control. Benefits of SabreSonic Inventory include:

     --  Quick and effective implementation of inventory control features that
         fit the airline's business processes, providing the information
         required to react quickly to changes in market conditions while
         minimizing time to market and risk.
     --  Improved economic evaluation through the application of diverse fare
         qualification rules, point-of-sale criteria as well as interline
         proration rules.  An airline can apply automated discount fare rules
         by point of sale to a given website, travel agent, tour operator,
         corporation, etc.  SabreSonic Inventory utilizes these point of sale
         rules entered by the airline to adjust availability as part of the
     --  Increased revenues provided through a real-time functionally rich
         inventory control environment capable of returning market
         availability based on the anticipated value that a passenger
         represents to the airline.
     --  Flexible system that supports O&D based availability in a Continuous
         Nesting framework and other traditional inventory control
         methodologies (serial, mixed and virtual nesting).
     --  Open system architecture producing lower IT costs, improved
         flexibility for the inventory function, and a foundation for cost-
         effective future product development efforts.
     --  Improved individual carrier and alliance based inventory performance
         with the ability for even the largest alliances to store their shared
         inventory in memory, which results in reduced CPU processing load and
         disk storage.
     --  Improved revenue through code share agreements by rerouting
         availability requests to the operating carrier for code share
         partners, referencing true O & D availability for each flight
     --  An inventory control platform that permits the airline to adopt a
         customer-centric CRM-based revenue management strategy.

SabreSonic Inventory combined with Sabre AirMax offers the complete solution for O&D revenue management. The combined online inventory control capability and off-line decision support functionality provides the complete solution to optimize an airline’s network wide inventory controls. The combined offering also allows carriers to compete more effectively on routes with low cost carrier competition given the recent addition of restriction free pricing capability.

Why Open System Design?

Many airlines are plagued with proprietary systems which are costly to maintain and inflexible to change. In addition, the volume and complexity of transactions are driving an increase in data processing costs. Airlines are interfacing around the clock with customers worldwide, thus leaving no room for downtime and scheduled maintenance — an unfortunate requirement of many proprietary systems.

Next generation, open-systems architecture allows airlines to lower IT costs and gain more flexibility to be able to react to changes in market conditions. It is an interruption-free system that is easily adaptable to unpredictable transaction volumes as well as rapid volume growth. Open-ended platforms provide faster time to market and easy integration of best-of-breed solutions and technology. SabreSonic Inventory represents a new generation in inventory control capabilities and revenue management, made possible by the flexible open system architecture.

“SabreSonic Inventory has generated tremendous interest from the airlines since it offers a real-time capability to provide true origin-destination revenue management,” said Marostica. “We believe the implementation of SabreSonic Inventory will change the way airline revenue management is performed. Sabre Airline Solution’s revenue management systems have provided an incredible competitive advantage to our customers, and we believe that this new solution will further improve that advantage.”

“Our pricing and shopping solution is another shining example of significant change in the technology environment for the airline industry. Sabre Airline Solutions is the first to move to a totally open platform for the most complex function — shopping and pricing, of a passenger solution suite. We are also working on migrating our ticketing fulfillment function to an open systems architecture as well. For our airline customers, this open- system design represents scalability, reliability and — most important — flexibility. Increased cost savings on the new IT infrastructure and improved speed to market will generate significant benefits for our airline customers,” Marostica added.

About Sabre Airline Solutions

Sabre Airline Solutions, a Sabre Holdings company, is the world’s largest provider of software products, reservations and 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 100 airlines worldwide rely on Sabre Airline Solutions for passenger management solutions, with 15 new carriers added and nine carrier renewals for SabreSonic Res advanced reservations in 2003. In addition, more than 100 clients worldwide have turned to Sabre Airline Solutions consulting group for strategic, commercial and operational consulting. More than 500 contracts worldwide were signed in 2003 within Sabre Airline Solutions.

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 .

Sabre Airline Solutions, the Sabre Airline Solutions logo, SabreSonic, and Sabre AirMax are trademarks and/or service marks of an affiliate of Sabre Holdings Corporation. All other trademarks, service marks, and trade names are the property of their respective owners.

SOURCE Sabre Airline Solutions

Kathryn Hayden of Sabre Airline Solutions, +1-682-605-2252, or