In what could prove to be good news for Unisys Corp, Air France is proposing a merger of all the major European airline reservation systems that are based on Unisys 1100 mainframes. The aim of the merger would be to create a Europe-wide reservation network that would be big enough to stand up to the two giant US systems, American’s IBM-compatible Sabre system and the United 1100-based system. European-scale reservation systems are seen to be needed because of the growing volume of lucrative ancillary business that is conducted over the US systems – things like hotel and car rental reservations for passengers. The airlines that are being invited to throw in their lot with Air France include the other major 1100 users, Lufthansa of West Germany, Scandinavian Airlines System, and Iberia of Spain. On balance such a development should be good for Unisys, because although in the short term, some consolidation might result, growth potential over the medium term should increase the aggregate business it does with the airlines that join the proposed net. There should be no increase in the likelihood that the affected airlines will decide to defect to IBM.
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