Amadeus Turns 20

amadeus logo  Amadues 20 Anniversary Logo

The largest European based GDS (Global Distribution System), Amadeus has just turned 20 years old a week ago, as it was officially established 21OCT1987 by four European Airlines: Iberia, Air France, Lufthansa and SAS. The four airlines wished to create a European GDS by merging their own computer reservation systems. The basis of the new GDS was System One, an existing US reservation system.

Within a year they have opened their headquarters in Madrid, Spain, their development center in Nice, France, and have started construction on the new Data Center, in Erding, Germany. In 1989 they have launched AmadeusPro to allow travel agents to book flights through neutral screens, while already 11 airlines were Amadeus users. One year later the Erding Data Center opened, which costed $200 million altogether, and was capable of handling 150 million transactions in the first year. 1991 saw 45.000 terminals being connected to Amadeus, while in 1992 the new Amadeus GDS was launched with the first PNR being booked for Mr. Wolfgang Amadeus. In the first year 70 million bookings were created. 1993 saw more than 10 million bookings each month, as well as 60% of European Travel Agencies were connected to 1A (1A is the two letter IATA code of Amadeus GDS). In 1994 Austrian Airlines joined the distribution system as the 100th airline selling through Amadeus. One year later Amadeus fully acquired System One from Continental Airlines, thus becoming the largest GDS in terms of travel agency locations. In 1996 was launched, while bookings topped 309 million. Only about 50% of old System One users accepted the forced migration to Amadeus. In 1997 Amadeus celebrated its 10 year anniversary, while serving 32% of the travel agency market worldwide, and the first Amadeus powered travel website was also launched by Icelandair.

In 1998, the first year of their second decade, they launched the SAP Travel Management tool, which is fully integrated with SAP’s finance and HR modules, and their data center handled one million transactions in a single day for the first time. By 1999, around 80 airlines and 3000 travel agencies rely on 1A e-commerce solutions, and this is the year, when 1A launches the world’s first neutral Electronic Ticketing solution: the Amadeus E-Ticket Server (ETS). In 2000 and 2001 Amadeus lays down the plans for the coming years, by starting development on Vista (a browser based version of their reservation system), on new Inventory and Departure Control Systems (for British Airways and Qantas as the first customers), as well as announcing the new Altéa Customer Management Solution. In 2003 the annual number of bookings passes the 400 million mark, while new airlines launch their websites based on 1A, among them bmi and Qantas. In 2005 Amadeus shifts its “identity” to become “Your Technology Partner”, and repositions itself as a leading Airline IT service provider. To support this change, they win a major contract to support the Star Alliance with a new Common IT Platform for all member airlines. Last year Amadeus handled 499 million bookings, and by 2007 they provide 192 airlines with their e-Ticketing. This year they have launched MoneyDirect as a Joint Venture with Sabre.

As the leading Airline IT provider, they provide the capacity for common shared access to flight reservations and frequent flyer information to nearly 150 airlines as Amadeus Altéa Reservation airlines (formerly known as System User). Current Amadeus Altéa Reservation customers include:

  • 6 of the 11 oneworld airlines (55%)
  • 13 of the 21 Star Alliance airlines (61%)
  • 3 of the 10 SkyTeam airlines (30%)

And with the Common IT Platform for Star, this number will raise in the future. As we can see, in the first 18 years Amadeus focused on the travel agencies (and seems like they have won on that front being the leader on the market), and now they start to focus on Airlines. If they are as successful on this market as with the travel agencies, they may be the largest player in this field as well, within the next few years. It looks like they have started down the right path to do that.

On the dedicated anniversary website you can find some more items besides the history of Amadeus, such as future plans, and thank you notes. They also added a fun “Personal Note for you” feature, with a personalized message, don’t miss that one, either!

We would also wish Amadeus a Happy 20th Birthday on behalf of AirlineWorld Blog!

by balint01

7 Responses to “Amadeus Turns 20”

  1. 1 Alen O'Hran November 28, 2007 at 1:58 am


    You mention the number of airlines out of each of the major networks that are part of Amadeus’ Altea Res System… do you know which airlines are those for each alliance?

    Thanks heaps.

  2. 2 balint01 November 28, 2007 at 6:13 am

    Hi Alen, here is my answer which is based on my personal knowledge and from several sources and searches on the internet, therefore it may not be 100% accurate. If anybody from Amadeus reads this list and has a proper, official list maintained by the Service Provider itself, please let me know how accurate I was.

    oneworld: British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, LAN, Qantas and Malev Hungarian Airlines. Cathay Pacific has just signed not so long ago, so the number is now 7/11. (Fresh affiliate Dragonair will also migrate to Amadeus.)

    Star Alliance: Adria Airways, Air New Zealand, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Croatia Airways, LOT Polish Airline, Lufthansa, SAS Scandinavian, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Thai Airways, United Airlines and US Airways. The new, Star Alliance Common IT Platform will be Amadeus based and will be used by all Star members, but not all of them has signed up yet. So this list may include ones which only plan to migrate, but are not yet Amadeus users as we speak.

    SkyTeam: Air France, CSA Czech Airlines and KLM (signed not so long ago).

  3. 3 szafi November 28, 2007 at 6:21 am

    Nice work, mate 🙂

  4. 4 Musaid Kaid August 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Dear sirs,

    I wonder if you could assist me by providing me with
    a comprehensive comparison of GDS systems with an
    explanation of disadvantages and advantages of each
    system, on additional to a list of complete GDSS with
    name of airlines subscribed in each GDS, plus an idea
    of cheapest GDS if possible .

    Thanks your response and best regards. Musaid Kaid

  5. 5 Lee August 10, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Where did you get your information that only about 50% of users accepted the Amadeus migration?

  6. 6 sumit kher March 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Hi, just completed my B.E. and now I am interested in going for GDS online training and that too in airlines. So, basically I am confused about certain things as which I came across that there are cetain different GDS like amadeus, Galileo, Sabre and some others. I found out that above are the one in demand and so just came across this online training and was wondering as this online training will help me to prepare of I have to go for any other Manual training. Kindly provide some light on this too! would really be thankful for your comments.

  1. 1 Easyjet Opens Old-new Sales Channels « Airline world Trackback on November 6, 2007 at 11:42 am

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