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This week in Paris we marked an important milestone in rail: 18 years after establishing our first distribution agreement with France’s national rail provider and one of the largest railways in Europe, SNCF, we are delighted to have renewed our contract for a further 5 years globally.I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank Thomas Drexler and the rail team at Amadeus for their continued hard work and making this alliance a reality once again. This historic and strategic partnership with rail giant SNCF shows our shared interest in shaping the future of rail travel. Through a multichannel strategy, this agreement makes it possible to distribute SNCF’s growing offer to all our clients in France and the rest of Europe, whether they are business, leisure, online or traditional travel agents.
Rail has come a long way in France. Did you know that there were over 4 times more TGV (high-speed trains) travellers than domestic air passengers in France last year? This progress is also evident in the solutions we have launched over the years. Back in the initial days of our partnership with SNCF, we had built a domestic rail booking solution which proved very successful at the time but required several days of training to fully grasp all the specific entries and fares. Now, we offer one of our most innovative solutions to date, the industry-first and award-winning Rail Display , which is much faster to learn and use.
This agreement also serves as the driving force to make booking rail easy, thanks to the Rail Display . Travel agencies will have this tool at their disposal to easily and effectively distribute SNCF’s offer both in France and beyond; including TGV, Eurostar and Thalys.
As a result, agents will experience a much more streamlined experience in selling rail travel as they use one user interface to complete the whole process, from searching, booking, and aftersales. For travelers, SNCF’s offer will become more attractive and accessible as the complexity, time and frustration involved with booking rail fares will be reduced. Continuing to have SNCF as a strong partner will take the Amadeus Rail GDS vision to the next level as we continue to build a larger rail community.
Web technologies bring us a long list of new possibilities. Online travel agencies in particular will have the latest products via Amadeus web services to distribute SNCF’s offer to travellers in an easy and convenient way. As rail providers become more aware of the new business that our rail platform can offer we look forward to welcoming them to join our growing rail community. I am sure that passengers will see an even better rail experience in the years to come.