Vol. 5 Num 589 Tue. January 24, 2006  
Front Page

Biman resumes ticketing thru' Amadeus

Hundreds of travel agents across the country heaved a sigh of relief yesterday with Biman resuming air ticket bookings through Amadeus, one of the four global distribution systems (GDS) in operation in Bangladesh.

Amadeus, represented by Global Travel Distribution Bangla Limited (GTD) and owned by Amadeus India Pvt Ltd, counted a huge loss in revenues during the 45 days the national flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines had refrained from getting its tickets booked by the company, official sources said.

After receiving a legal notice from the GTD on January 3, Biman finally withdrew the boycott it had slapped on Amadeus on December 8 in line with a High Court order following a writ petition filed by a group named Bangladesh Youth Economist Forum which had brought allegations of money laundering against the GTD.

As the majority of Bangladesh's over 500 recognised travel agents use the Amadeus system for air ticket bookings, 45 days of boycotting the system caused sufferings for many travel agents and resulted in financial losses to the GTD.

Three other global distribution systems apart from Amadeus are represented by three national marketing companies in Bangladesh Biman represents Singapore-based Abacus, MGH represents Hong Kong-based Galileo and Marks Aviation represents USA-based World Span.

During the vacuum created by the suspension of getting services from Amadeus, the business of air ticket bookings went to other GDS.

In letters to all Biman-approved travel agents on December 8, 2005, the national flag carrier said bookings through Amadeus system would not be honoured on any BG flight until February 18, 2006 due to the court order.

But on December 20, 2005 Amadeus' counsels succeeded in gaining a two-month stay on the High Court's order. As Biman did not withdraw the suspension until January 2, 2006, Amadeus sent a legal notice to the national flag carrier on January 3 asking it to lift the suspension or face contempt of court proceedings.

Eventually, Biman's response came 20 days later with travel agents feeling relieved upon resumption of bookings by Amadeus from yesterday.

MA Muhaimin Saleh, president of the Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB) told The Daily Star yesterday that suspension of getting ticket bookings from Amadeus had caused serious problems in air travel sector. He welcomed Biman's latest move, however belated.

Mustafa Kemal, country manager of the GTD, said they had wanted to fight out the legal battle in the court but the vacuum created by the temporary suspension made room for competitors to take away market share.

Under the global distribution systems various companies like the four in operation in Bangladesh manage air ticket bookings using sophisticated information technology, and get paid from the airlines concerned $2.0 per passenger each way.