A group of 15 airlines from the Middle East & North Africa has signed a 10-year framework agreement with Amadeus for distribution services. The deal was negotiated and led by the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO), which represents 34 airlines in the region.

The agreement concluded an 18-month process during which AACO’s “taskforce for future distribution strategies” assessed several technology and distribution providers’ abilities to support the long-term needs of its member airlines.

Amadeus said the partnership would drive economies of scale and technological efficiencies, as well as supporting the airlines’ vision for future distribution paths.

The participating AACO carriers will now work with the global distribution system provider to explore how further to develop and maximize the potential of its travel agency network, including enhanced merchandising and retailing capabilities.

“This efficient, long-term agreement represents a landmark for a number of AACO members with a technology partner dedicated to supporting new business strategies,” AACO secretary-general Abdul Wahab Teffaha said.   

“This framework secures a solid foundation for those AACO members as they continue to innovate, and it will remain open for additional member airlines that wish to join in the future.”

The airlines participating in the framework agreement to date carried 110 million passengers in 2016. The contract follows on from a previous 10-year agreement with 13 AACO members, signed in 2008.

“Amadeus’ focus on innovation and technology, combined with a partnership approach, were in close alignment with the requirements identified by the members of AACO’s taskforce for future distribution strategies,” Amadeus SVP- airlines Julia Sattel said.

“Amadeus’ commitment to evolving airline distribution is demonstrated through its recent IATA NDC Certification as an aggregator and our extensive work on the IATA One Order standard.

“This deal represents an enormous achievement for Amadeus.”

“Airlines in the Middle East have been some of the most successful in the industry over the past decade. Whether their focus is on providing travelers with a premium product, capitalizing on the region as a hub between Asia and Europe, or pursuing a partnership approach, airlines see the value in an omnichannel distribution strategy, to maximize their sales with travelers,” Amadeus’ VP- head of airline group, Middle East and Africa Maher Koubaa added.

Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com