Sabre move marks new era for Virgin

Sabre move marks new era for Virgin
By admin

Virgin Australia expects this weekend's migration to the SabreSonic platform to create new opportunities to grow its revenue from across the travel distribution landscape.

At a media briefing yesterday, general manager business systems Andrew Lillyman explained the move from the ticketless Navitaire system to the new ticketed platform would align the airline with its counterparts and enable it to "tap into how the rest of the industry works".

"We can be more available to travel agencies around the world playing in this industry standard space," he said.

Lillyman highlighted the difficulties currently encountered by travel management companies when booking Virgin Australia fares. He said the use of the two designators, DJ and VA, can be confusing, time-consuming and costly for users, and can often drive Virgin fares off the primary booking screen.

"In the trade space, currently in a ticketless environment, it's very hard for TMCs to transact with us," he said. "They are set up for ticketed systems. [The new system] provides a greater revenue opportunity for us into the future being able to be more connected with those TMCs."

Under the new system, passengers will have seamless connections when flying with any of Virgin's interline partner airlines making it more attractive to travellers and also potential new partners, he explained.

Lillyman referred to the example of Canadian carrier WestJet which had been able to considerably grow its codeshare alliances after making a similar transition.

Virgin Australia will begin the shift to SabreSonic on Friday night, with completion expected on Sunday evening.

Group executive corporate communications, Danielle Keighery, expected the transition to run smoothly, but conceded difficulties could arise when staff use the system for the first time in a live environment.

In addition, she warned that if other "external factors" such as bad weather came into play, it could create more issues during the changeover.

To reduce the chances of disruption, the airline has drafted in additional staff for the weekend and is sending regular communications to those planning to fly.

Passengers due to fly on Saturday have been advised to check in online, with the normal 24 advance window extended to 36 hours. Those travelling on Sunday should arrive at the airport 60 minutes in advance of domestic flights and three hours ahead of international departure times.


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