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Air Canada announces enhanced AC2U direct connect

Air Canada, a founding member of the recently formed airline XML standards body the Open AXIS Group, and a pioneer of Distribution 2.0, is pleased to announce that it has completed its project of rebuilding and enhancing its airline direct connect API, marketed as AC2U. Dubbed the New AC2U and first revealed in August of last year as a joint effort with Farelogix, it is now beginning its initial customer implementations. The New AC2U incorporates all the existing AC2U functionality plus added enhancements in the areas of shopping, flight changes, Flight Pass, and overall performance. The New AC2U utilizes the new industry standard for airline XML connectivity, supported by the Open AXIS Group.

Air Canada has devoted extensive resources to building and deploying the New AC2U, which is available free of charge to any and all distribution partners, to address the very real distribution issues that the industry is now facing. By delivering its full set of products and fares over a modern and industry standard protocol, Air Canada has overcome the Distribution Gap created by legacy systems, thereby enabling its efficient integration with content from other suppliers. At last, agencies, corporations and individual customers can easily and quickly access, in a very transparent manner, all of the information they require in order to make an informed choice about their travel needs.

“The New AC2U, along with our network of Distribution 2.0 enabled partners, is an important step in delivering transparency and choice to the market, something we have been struggling to accomplish using existing distribution systems” stated Graham Wareham, Senior Director Product Distribution at Air Canada. “Our goal has always been to make available to our travel agency partners and the corporate and leisure customers they serve, complete Air Canada content marketed and sold in a manner consistent with what customers have already become accustomed to at”

Air Canada had already deployed its AC2U direct connect to a number of third party companies over the past several years. These companies have all been given access to the New AC2U and implementation activities have already started, with completion expected by early in the second quarter. Once complete, Air Canada will have one of the most extensive Distribution 2.0 enabled networks for direct distribution. In fact, KDS, an international leader in on-demand travel and expense, has completed its integration activities and will be the launch customer for the New AC2U, making the enhanced platform available to all of its existing customer base.

“At KDS, we are delighted to be the first platform to integrate to the New AC2U Direct Connect” stated Yves Weisselberger, Chief Executive Officer at KDS. “This new API will undoubtedly provide a greater user experience and improved services to our mutual corporate customers. Our goal is to continue to leverage the best technology that provides corporations with a transparent shopping experience and complete control of their travel plans. Our close partnership with Air Canada and their dedication in providing this new service has made this integration possible in record time”.

As Custom Travel Solutions (a division of UNIGLOBE Custom), “we are extremely pleased with the development and improvements as they relate to Air Canada’s new API platform as we are the leading user and reseller in Canada of the KDS online platform” stated Vaughan Payne, President of Custom Travel.

As KDS became the first online partner that migrated to the new AC2U platform, Custom certainly appreciated the time and effort that Air Canada has put into the development of their reservation system to enhance the online demands and unique offerings available to today’s business traveller. Specifically, “the enhanced speed, stability and flexibility of the new AC2U platform now allows Custom Travel to deliver Air Canada’s offerings to its current customers and will ultimately provide opportunities for us to grow our business in the future” said Payne.

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