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Technology

U.S. Looking at Airlines' Internet Project

May 19, 2000|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department said Thursday it was investigating a joint venture funded by five U.S. airlines to sell tickets on the Internet.

Still going by its "T2" planning name, the project is being developed by Boston Consulting Group on behalf of its equity partners: UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, Northwest Airlines Corp., Continental Airlines Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and AMR Corp.'s American Airlines.

An additional 25 airlines have agreed to be affiliate members, offering what T2 says will be the most comprehensive and unbiased source of travel information on the Internet.

"We welcome the Justice Department's review, and pledge our full cooperation," T2 spokesman Carl Rutstein said.

"We are confident that our site meets all antitrust requirements, and that it will benefit Web consumers by offering them better travel information and more choice," Rutstein said.

Travel agents and the dominant travel Web site, Travelocity.com, have expressed fears that T2 will reduce competition and cut them out of selling certain low fares.

T2 says it will be run independently of its owner airlines and participating airlines will still be free to run their own Web sites.

Member airlines will be required to post their lowest Internet fares on T2, which is scheduled to launch this year, but they will be free to offer those fares to other sellers if they choose.

Travelocity, which is 70% owned by computer reservations system operator Sabre Holdings Corp., had no immediate comment.

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