Atco relaunches travel system on single platform

Customers of a Calgary-based travel management company will soon be able to book corporate shuttle, airline, hotel and car reservations on a single itinerary from one interface.

Atco Travel Ltd., principal operating subsidiary

of Atco Group, will go live with an integrated reservation management system next week that combines systems from several different vendors, including Shediac, N.B.-based InteliSys Aviation Systems Inc. InteliSys signed a three-year contract with Atco in April under which Atco will use InteliSys’s Amelia System platform for Web-based airline reservations for corporate shuttle and airline flights in Western Canada. A dollar figure for the total cost of the project was not released.

The project, which began in May, involved connecting several different operating platforms, including the Amelia System, reporting systems and back office accounting systems, to manage corporate aircraft within the Global Distribution System (GDS). The GDS provided all communications between the different reservation systems prior to the Internet and is still used today. With the GDS connection to Galileo CRS, clients can book everything on a single reservation.

“Nobody’s ever been able to tie in all these different links to make it work with those five different types of vendors,” said Vaughan Payne, Atco president. “The motivation of all five vendors to make this work was of great interest to them.”

Until now, customers have had to make all of these reservations manually through a travel company. With all of the systems automated, both the agent and client have a much greater amount of control. Clients looking to make a reservation can simply log on to the system, which is hosted at InteliSys’s site in New Brunswick, and make their travel arrangements.

“Executives can book a seat on their own corporate shuttle or on Air Canada or any other commercial carrier as well as the hotel and car,” said Jock English, chief operating officer at InteliSys. “The travel consultant can book it all through one interface.”

English added the system also enables oil companies, the main target for this project, to keep a close watch on the usage of their own aircraft. To keep pace with the burgeoning oil and gas market in Alberta, Atco, which currently has five clients in this industry, needed to implement a system that could handle the volume of travelers.

“The number of aircraft that are being used to mobilize crews has got to such a critical level,” said Payne. “InteliSys had a system that could do the job of managing the sheer number of people that are moving around the province.”

InteliSys, which has traditionally provided services for mostly commercial airlines, is looking to break into this market with clients like Atco.

“We haven’t pursued that market aggressively up until this point,” said English. “(Atco) gives us a fairly good reference base to go after corporate shuttles more directly.”

In the last two to three years, InteliSys has signed up 24 clients, many of which came from the fallout of the dire situation facing the commercial airline industry after 9/11.

“After 9/11 when the large airlines started getting into trouble they had very complex relationships with the regional carriers where the parent airline was bearing a lot of the cost of their reservation systems and other infrastructure,” said English. “As they started getting into trouble, they started spinning the regional carriers of on their own.”

As a result, added English, regional carriers were left without reservation systems and others that they needed to run a profitable business.

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