The wide range of travel content available in Amadeus creates a powerful network effect, attracting a wide geographic spread and number of travel agents and airlines sales offices. In turn, the more travel agents connected to the sales network over many countries, the more attractive our network is for travel providers to be connected to this sales network. Therefore, the larger the network, the more attractive it is for all participants and the more transaction revenue is generated. This enables us to invest more in research & development to provide better products within the network, further increasing its attractiveness.
The Distribution business also encompasses a broad range of related services and IT Solutions for both providers and travel agencies. This includes, for example, new functionalities in our distribution platform for airlines which maximise income and sell ancillary services, as well as to facilitate the booking of other content such as hotels, car rental, rail or cruise, management solutions for corporate travel policies and fare search engines for both traditional and online travel agencies.
The main service of the IT Solutions business area is the Amadeus Altéa Suite. The Altéa Suite features three core components, which are critical to embracing the full passenger service system (PSS).
Unlike legacy IT systems, which use different technologies, the Altéa platform is based on a common technical infrastructure and software. With Altéa, airlines outsource their operations onto a community platform which delivers superior operational efficiency and allows them to share information with both airline alliance and code-share partners.
Altéa offers significant business potential for airlines, by serving their present and future needs in the current industry environment: cost reduction, including technology-related spend, improved customer-passenger service, and revenue optimisation. The Amadeus Altéa Suite ultimately ensures the delivery of much more sophisticated IT services than airlines could have afforded by themselves and at a lower and variable cost. In-house maintenance and development of IT systems for these functions is becoming an increasingly heavy burden, even for large carriers.
In addition, we are expanding our IT Solutions business area to include offerings for other travel providers. At the end of 2011 the commercial businesses of Amadeus were reorganised and we now have a customer-facing unit fully dedicated to new businesses, with special focus on rail, airport and hotel IT Solutions, as well as payment services, business intelligence and new media and mobile solutions.