Air Black Box Shakes up Airline Reservations

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, 13 Nov., 2016 — A Manchester-based company is on track to become a major technology provider with a reservation system that allows airlines to connect seamlessly and cost-effectively.

Air Black Box, which has won two prestigious industry awards in as many months, has a simple goal: “connecting airlines to sell stuff.”

Founded four years ago by Timothy O’Neil-Dunne and Paul Addy, it has been credited with providing the software that made newly formed airline alliances like Asia’s Value Alliance — made up of Cebu Pacific, JejuAir, Nok, NokScoot, Scoot, Tigerair Australia and Tigerair Singapore and Vanilla Air — a reality.

Customers can view, select and book the best-available airfares on flights from any of the airlines in a single transaction, directly from each partner website, thanks to Air Black Box (ABB) technology. This means more destinations, more routing options and greater convenience for customers of each airline.

The company, which has grown its headcount from five to 44 in just two years and has offices in the United States and Singapore, is headquartered at The University of Manchester Innovation Centre’s (UMIC) North Campus Incubator. UMIC is a division of the university’s innovation company, UMI3 Ltd.

ABB bosses O’Neil-Dunne and Addy said the company, which has multiple patents pending on its technology, expects to sign more customers in the near future.

The company this year won two prestigious awards: the 2016 WITovation Editor’s Choice Award in Singapore, and the 2016 CAPA Aviation Award for Excellence.

WITovation recognises significant players in Asia; CAPA is global. ABB earned top honours for its first two products: the Air Connection Engine, which allows airlines to partner easily, and AirADD, the platform to sell and cross-sell any range and variety of ancillaries.

“Essentially, we have developed an interface which enables airlines to network better so they can sell onward flights to smaller destinations as part of one ticket,” said O’Neil-Dunne.

“There’s one point of purchase in any number of currencies and a single itinerary encompasses tickets and ticketless bookings issued simultaneously on cooperating airlines.

“Our technology is the right technology for the right time, and there’s nothing else like it.

“We have, if you will, re-imagined the process of airline retailing, starting with the most difficult of all airline products: interlining and multi-carrier connectivity.”

O’Neil-Dunne said that since signing its first clients earlier this year, ‘Air Black Box has established absolute market leadership’ with a series of B2B and B2C tools and platform that provide its airlines’ clients with efficiencies and cost benefits that were simply not available until now.

ABB’s client, Value Alliance airlines, who boast a collective fleet of 176 aircraft across the Asia Pacific region and serve more than 160 destinations, have strengthened distribution in their non-home markets, expanded their saleable networks via the provision of interline itineraries, retained their ancillary revenue opportunities and now offer their customers a better, one-stop-shop experience.

Now recruiting one person a week to cope with the number of airlines signing on to use its technology, ABB recently announced a joint venture with Singapore Airlines and has been nominated for another leading airline industry award.

O’Neil-Dunne said: “Tony Walker, the director of UMIP’s Innovation Optimiser scheme, was instrumental in helping us to set up as a commercial company and has supported us ever since.

“We are also working with the Alliance Manchester Business School on an international business project which is very exciting.”

He added: “We feel that the number of airlines that have committed to using the Air Black Box platform is a testament to its utility.

“The airlines’ ability to form these alliances means that a small or regional or low-cost carrier can very quickly grow its market footprint and become part of a much larger network of interconnected and cooperating carriers.”

ENDS

About ABB

Air Black Box (ABB) is a UK-based, venture-backed company specializing in cloud-based airline passenger software platforms.

The company has developed the world’s first dedicated multi-carrier interlining and booking system.

This gives any airline the tools to connect its products to a partner airline’s brand, and it is the first time airlines can truly cross-merchandise their products while maintaining their brand integrity.

Value Alliance carriers are already using the revolutionary Air Connection Engine ℠ — ACE — to combine inventory and cooperate in a broader route network.

See http://www.airblackbox.comand http://www.valuealliance.com .

About UMIC

The University of Manchester Innovation Centre provides state-of-the-art laboratory space for start-ups and SMEs and is a division of The University of Manchester Iᶟ Ltd (www.umi3.com ) — the university’s innovation company. UMI3 is wholly owned by The University of Manchester.

UMIC aims to help Manchester and the region deliver high levels of economic growth through the creation, development and attraction of competitive, high-value and profitable businesses within a culture of enterprise and innovation.

UMIC is the sister division to UMIP.

See http://www.umic.co.uk

About UMIP

The University of Manchester Intellectual Property is The University of Manchester’s agent for intellectual property commercialisation and is a division of The University of Manchester Iᶟ Ltd (www.umi3.com ) — the university’s innovation company. UMI3 is wholly owned by The University of Manchester which has over a 25-year history of IP commercialisation.

UMIP’s role is to bring as much of the University’s ground-breaking inventions and software, as is relevant, into the commercial world. This we do principally by attracting entrepreneurs, investors and corporate venture partners to our campus and Innovation Centre (www.umic.co.uk ) and then, through engagement with our academic colleagues, licensing or spinning out companies.

Since UMIP’s inception in October 2004:

Over 3,700 invention disclosures have been received. UMIP has set up 40 spin-out companies and 43 social enterprise spin-outs, staff start-ups and assisted student start-ups. Over 4,800 licences and assignments have been brokered and over £300M has been invested by 3rd party venture funders in University of Manchester spin-outs, a number of which have received national and regional enterprise awards. It currently has over 100 projects in its portfolio at various stages of development.

The University’s IP enterprises have generated over £105M to the University through the sale of shares in spin-outs, licensing income and through IP grants and contracts activity.