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The Global Distribution System , commonly abbreviated to the acronym GDS, is an information system created for Travel Agencies to manage the reservation and purchase of airline tickets, hotel reservations and even hire cars and other tourist services.

Initially designed for tour operators and airline companies, the GDS were subsequently extended to encompass the entire travel industry.

There are approximately 500,000 Travel Agencies that use the GDS systems in around 150,000 different locations worldwide.
The GDS work with:

  • 550 airline companies 
  • 90,000 hotels 
  • 30,000 car hire companies

The main players are:



Founded in 1959 (American Airlines)
Largest Marketshare – 50% (Net Revenue $2,881 Million in 2008)
Owed by: Silverlake, Texas Pacific Group
Additional Technology: Synxis CRS, E-Site, Bid-Stork, Airline RMS

Corporate Market

Travelocity Business, IgoUgo,, Zuji

Leisure Market, Travelocity



Galileo/Apollo: Founded in 1993 (BA, KLM, UA), Worldspan: Consolidated in 1990 (Delta,
Northwest & AA)
Second Largest Market Share – 36% (Net Revenue $2,527 Million in 2008)
Owned by: Blackstone Group, One Equity, Technology Crossover & Travelport Management

Corporate Market

Traversa, Orbitz for Business

Leisure Market

Orbitz (, ebookers, cheaptickets, hotelclub),, GTA



Consoliated in 1987 (AF, IB, LU, SAS) – Only GDS Headquartered outside of the US (Madrid)
3rd largest market share – 14% (Net Revenue $2,861 Million in 2008)
Owned by WAM Acquisition (BC Partners, Cinven, AF, IB & LH)
Additional Technology: Hotel Distribution Platform (PMS/CRS/RMS), Master Pricer

Corporate Market

E-Travel Management, E-Travel Retail

Leisure Market