Skift Take

With its focus on flights, CheapOair sells a ton of seats for American Airlines and US Airways, and this pact is a bow to that performance.

American Airlines Group expanded its distribution relationship with CheapOair parent Fareportal, the carrier’s first post-merger agreement with an online travel agency, officials said.

Under the agreement, American Airlines and US Airways agree to distribute their flights and ancillary services, including preferred seats and future optional products to all of Fareportal’s “existing and future geographies,” Fareportal says.

Fareportal is a travel management company, and its affiliated brands include online travel agencies CheapOair and OneTravel.

The multiyear and global agreement builds upon 2013 Fareportal U.S. point of sale agreements with American Airlines to distribute its Choice Essential, Choice Plus, Main Cabin Extra and Preferred Seats, and one with US Airways for its ChoiceSeats.

The new agreement is interesting in that it covers both American’s and US Airways’ future ancillary services as well as CheapOair’s potential geographic expansion.

CheapOair currently has its main sites in the U.S., Canada and the UK, but has developed microsites in nearly 30 other countries Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa.

“We do have international ambitions,” Chris Cuddy, Fareportal’s chief commercial officer, tells Skift. “We have many microsites that are on deck to go. This will cover us no matter where we go.”

Cuddy no online travel agency has ever signed an agreement of this magnitude with an airline because American Airlines Group is now the world’s largest airline.

“Everything seems to have a couple of extra zeroes on it,” he says, referring to the scope of the pact.

Why would American and US Airways opt to sign such a pact with Fareportal/CheapOair in particular?

Cuddy says one reason is because CheapOair has performed well for the airlines over the last couple of years.

“I think this is because we are becoming the air online travel agency,” Cuddy says, claiming the largest traffic among OTAs in several of the last few months. “We have hundreds of engineers doing nothing but air.”

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Tags: american airlines, cheapoair, us airways

Photo credit: The Business Class cabin in American Airlines' 777-300ERs are outfitted with fully lie flat seats with aisle access. American Airlines

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