AERONOLOGY chief Russell Carstensen has likened his next generation booking platform to a finely tuned Italian sports car, and accused Express Travel Group (ETG) of “driving it like a Lada” in a parting shot after confirmation that the much-vaunted technology deal with the agency group will cease on 01 July 2023.
Announced in late 2019, the pact had been seen as a key plank in ETG’s NDC strategy, with the Aeronology system, backed by former Jetset Travelworld chief Peter Lacaze, promising direct connections to an ever-growing number of traditional carriers and low-cost airlines as well as GDS links and other supplier product, offering ticketing, robotics, wholesale booking and payment services in a single integrated platfrom.
Last week’s announcement that Helloworld Travel Limited will acquire 100% of Express Travel Group for $70 million saw Carstensen confirm that he exercised an option to cancel the agreement back in early April, giving 90 days notice because “new commercial terms could not be reached”.
Express Travel Group isn’t commenting on the parting of the ways, but Carstensen was more forthcoming, claiming ETG is now “scrambling” to prepare for the transition away from Aeronology. “I would have been happy to assist with a well-managed transition,” he said.
Carstensen went further, claiming there was now “mayhem” within ETG at the announcement that the group will become part of long-time rival Helloworld. “These independent agents cannot be bought or sold, the TTV that these agents create are only processed via ETG/HLO, they don’t own the sales. That TTV is fluid and it can go anywhere…once there is a reputable place to process transactions and they believe it’s stable, they will flock there,” he suggested.
The end of the ETG agreement also impacts the company’s NZ-based First Travel Group, leaving IATA-affiliated CT Partners members as the only Australasian travel agency group to have Aeronology as a preferred technology partner after the companies finalised a new agreement just last month.