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10th February 2009

New Web Services' option supports online retailers

Flybe's new Web Services' option supports online retailers

Flybe, Europe’s largest and most successful regional airline, announces it is launching an XML-based web services option that allows third parties to directly access its pricing and booking engine without the need for them to resort to so-called ‘screen-scraping’ activity. This is a move designed to protect its main website booking engine and confirms the carrier’s active support of, and commitment to, those online retailers that provide a valued revenue stream.

The airline’s website, www.flybe.com, is renowned for being strongly supported by a mature and innovative IT capability that is able to keep abreast of industry trends.

Stephen Hobday, Flybe’s Head of Sales comments: "By taking seats directly from our website, online agencies provide a valued revenue stream at minimal distribution cost. As technology continues to evolve, it will be inevitable that demand from web-based platforms such as those used by flight aggregators, dot coms and providers of corporate booking and travel agent tools, will increase.

“To make the process more robust and appropriate to the expectations of our partners, Flybe has developed a new Web Services product allowing online agents to connect to its API (Application Programming Interface).”

Mr Hobday goes on to explain that the previous method of ‘screen-scraping’, whereby the customer extracted information from Flybe’s website, had the limitation of not being able to automatically identify any enhancements that the airline makes to the booking process.

“This can result in a loss of revenue all round and an associated resource cost,” he says. “However, with Web Services, the online agency will be connected to our outgoing feed so will no longer need to go via our website and will benefit from all of Flybe's product development.

“It is inevitable that demand from web-based platforms such as those used by flight  aggregators, dot coms and providers of  TMC and corporate booking tools, will increase.

“However, Web Services takes the process away from the main booking engine and ensures that the  procedure is not compromised.”

Concludes Mr Hobday, “In the online environment, Web Services is becoming the de-facto messaging standard. The onus was on us to integrate this in to our strategy so we can continue to work with our partners in what can only be viewed as a win-win situation for everyone.”