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Sabre announced that travel agency customers now for the first time can book Deutsche Bahn tickets outside Germany. The initial phase of international expansion makes DB bookable through the web-based rail booking solution Sabre Red Rail in Italy, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Thailand. Agents using Sabre Red Rail in those countries also can book rail tickets distributed by DB on behalf of Austrian Rail and Swiss Rail.
Sabre claimed that Sabre Red Rail is an "industry-first" solution. "Our application is web-based, bypassing the need for installations, and is supported centrally by our DB Helpdesk," according to a spokesperson. "It allows agencies with an Internet connection to immediately book Deutsche Bahn as soon as their DB license has been granted."
Italy is an important market for DB. The German rail operator last year launched services into the north of the country, making it the first rail company to take advantage of European Union cross-border deregulation introduced in January 2010. The U.K. also is strategically important because DB has announced plans to launch a service through the Channel Tunnel to London, currently scheduled to start in December 2013.
Objections from the French government, however, threaten the viability of the project, leaving DB unclear whether it can proceed with ordering the necessary rolling stock. "We are waiting for a green light," Oliver Schmidt, the German rail operator's U.K. and Ireland director of international sales, told BTN. "We need an indication in the first half of this year."
Sabre corporate booking tool GetThere last summer introduced a link to DB, but at present GetThere only punches bookers out to the DB Bibe (Bahn Internet Booking Engine) corporate portal. An improved process is not yet ready, but the Sabre spokesperson said, "The extended relationship is going to help." Sabre for several years has distributed French rail operator SNCF in the United Kingdom, Italy, Greece and Benelux.
The article originally was published in Business Travel News
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