This post continues “GDS: The Evolution. Part 1“.
Next step by the very same Air Canada but now in cooperation with Feranti-Packard, big hardware manufacturer of its time, implemented new system ReserVec. The system was based on transistors and punch cards. This was much more reliable than Mark 1 which was tube-based. Overall the future was all for transistor based hardware.
ReserVec preceded another GDS, very well known these days – Sabre… Sabre actually is abbreviation and it stands for Semi-Automatic Business Research Environment.
Here’s the story. American Airlines was not very happy with Reservisor and wanted to get their reservation system at whole new qualitative level. AA CEO C.R. Smith happened to meet with R. Blair, senior executive at IBM. C.R. Smith actually involved Blair into the process of improvement of Reservisor. That’s how appeared first version of SABRE in 1959. It was actually launched in 1960. In four years Sabre evolved so much that it became the biggest computer system in the world used for civil purposes.
Although SABRE system and many consequent solutions by other airlines (such as Delta’s DATAS, United Airlines’ Apollo, Trans World Airlines’ PARS etc) did only automate airlines’ work but didn’t actually give any direct access to reservation functionality to end customers nor to travel agencies. But it happened only in 1976 when United Airlines opened Apollo to travel agents. This system further evolved and now known under the name of Galileo. Rest of the GDS systems were open to travel agencies pretty soon, so effective it was for Apollo.
Another big GDS was open to travel agents in UK: Videcom. It was developed by British Airways in 1972.
It was truely multi access GDS because it was providing access for 1000 travel agents in the United Kingdom. Lamost 50 airlines were contributing to it. The system had eventually spread
accross the Globe and was dominating in Europe and Asia up till 1988 when it was replaced by Galileo.
To be continued…