In 1988 Air France, Lufthansa, Iberia and SAS founded Amadeus to develop a Global Distribution System (GDS), a worldwide computerised reservation network that would use a single point of access to connect airlines' content with travel agencies and consumers to provide real-time search, pricing, booking, ticketing and other processing solutions. We were the first GDS to offer neutral, unbiased, flight availability data.
Beginning operations in 1992, we quickly advanced to expand the reservation network to include booking solutions for hotel rooms, rental cars, rail and other travel providers. To handle these distribution activities, an extensive, advanced IT network as well as systems and solutions were developed to ensure twenty-four hour dependable and efficient transactions for the global travel industry in a stable and rigorous environment.
Eleven years after its incorporation, in October 1999 Amadeus conducted an initial public offering of its shares, which were admitted to listing and trading on the Madrid, Paris and Frankfurt stock exchanges.
The Company continued to set the standard for the travel industry through progressive diversification into IT-based services that went beyond sales and reservation functionalities, focusing on innovative and user-friendly products that helped airlines to streamline operational and distribution requirements for both leisure and corporate travel arrangements. By 2000, we had implemented our first web-based solutions; in the same year we became the first GDS company to receive the quality certification ISO 9001:2000.
Between 2000 and 2004, the Company expanded even further into the IT market, obtaining long-term agreements with major national airlines for full Passenger Service Systems (PSS), implementing our first e-Retail customer, and expanding IT solutions to travel agencies and hotels. We consolidated our worldwide presence through our Amadeus Commercial Offices (ACOs) and regional offices. This period also saw the acquisition of Opodo, the second-largest online travel agency (in terms of GDS-processed air bookings) in the aggregated European markets in which it operated.
In 2005, private equity funds acquired a majority stake, taking Amadeus private. These funds, along with Air France, Lufthansa and Iberia remained our key shareholders.
In the following years, we strengthened partnerships with major national airlines as well as acquired important specialist companies, while major corporations and travel suppliers sought our technology solutions, such as e-ticketing systems, corporate self-booking tools and customer management solutions for airlines. This shift in focus from distribution system to technology provider resulted in the change of the company's name to Amadeus IT Group, S.A. in 2006.
In April 2010, Amadeus returned to the Spanish stock exchanges and in January of 2011, we joined the blue-chip index IBEX 35.