KAL, Asiana Plan Travel Site

[KOREA] Korean Air and Asiana Airlines plan to jointly establish a travel Web site, airline officials said last week.

Officials of KAL and Asiana exchanged a Letter of Intent (LOI) to create the tentatively dubbed “Airline Portal,” where users can access comprehensive flight and travel information, including hotel and rental car services, and make online purchases of related products. The site will be similar to the Orbitz site in the U.S.

This marks the first time in the nation’s aviation industry for the two companies to invest jointly in a business. The move, officials said, is aimed at protecting the domestic online travel market from potentially being invaded by foreign forerunners like Orbitz.com and priceline.com, which are ready to begin operations in the latter half of the year.

“No details have been set as for how much each company will invest and the contents of the service. We do plan to open the site by the latter half of this year, though” a KAL official said.

The official said, however, that the two companies are considering forming an alliance with Orbitz for technical assistance and with a computerized reservation system (CRS) for marketing.

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