United Airlines Creates E-Commerce Unit

United Airlines Thursday launched an
e-commerce subsidiary to boost travel product sales via the Net.

United, a unit of UAL Corp. (UAL) hopes the move will help them compete in the e-commerce sector
through its management and staff resources, which are focused on e-commerce
opportunities to inflate the company’s online revenues.

Initially, 70 employees from United’s marketing and technical departments
will join a new e-commerce division. The new company will also create United’s
first online sales organization that will be charged with managing the
carrier’s many partnerships and relationships with new and existing online
travel sites, as well as generating additional online revenues.

The new division will be led by Scott Praven, currently United’s vice
president of revenue management. In his 21-year career with United, Praven
has held a variety of positions in the areas of brand management and product
development, sales planning, interline marketing and pricing.

The subsidiary will be responsible for strategies in a number of key areas

  • United’s Web site, launched in 1997

  • United’s Internet partnership strategy — the airline has entered into
    innovative relationships with sites such as star-alliance.com and collegetravelnetwork.com
  • Wireless technology: In May, United began offering customers real-time flight information through the use of the
    Palm Pilot VII hand-held device. Other customer-focused functionality is
    expected to be added by the end of the first quarter.

“The new team, made up of experienced professionals from United’s e-commerce
technology and business teams, will allow us to better serve the growing
number of consumers who are taking advantage of new ways of buying travel”
said Doug Hacker, United’s executive vice president and chief financial officer.

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