Reservation system cut over spurs 4Q revenue decline at WestJet

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Canadian low cost carrier WestJet today said service issues created from its transition to the SabreSonic reservations system will negatively affect the carrier's fourth quarter revenues.

The carrier made the switch in October, and today in statement WestJet CEO Sean Durfy explained: "Regrettably the transition has impacted the level of service that our guests have come to expect and deserve, and these service issues are carrying on longer than we originally anticipated."

He says although they are "difficult to quantify" the challenges WestJet has dealt with during the transition will negatively impact fourth quarter revenues. The carrier expects unit revenues for the last three months of the calendar year to fall 11%-13%.

JetBlue plans to cutover from its current Open Skies reservation platform powered by Navitaire to SabreSonic at the end of January, said carrier SVP of government affairs Robert Land today at the 2009 ACI-NA International Aviation Issues Seminar in Washington, DC.

Land welcomes the transition as he explains that Open Skies has limited functionality. Open Skies cannot support codesharing and oher functions, and JetBlue needs a more sophisticated system to support its codeshare with Lufthansa. The two carriers launched the first phase of the pact last month.

The glitches WestJet faces in its transition from Open Skies follow a write down of roughly $30 million in 2007 after the carrier decided to scrap plans to use the aiRES reservation system offered by Travelport.