Asian carriers are to launch a new regional on-line travel booking site, to be known as Zuji after the Mandarin Chinese word for 'footprint'. Zuji replaces the original working title, Travel Exchange Asia.

The portal will be modelled on those of counterparts in Europe and the USA. The scheme is a joint venture between Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, EVA Airways, Garuda Indonesia, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas Airways, Royal Brunei Airlines, SilkAir and Singapore Airlines.

US travel site Travelocity, which is a shareholder in the venture, is providing the site's booking technology.

Nine Asia-Pacific carriers originally announced plans for the on-line travel exchange service in mid-2000, saying it would start operating at the end of that year. However, the launch was delayed until mid-2001. Zuji says the service is now "expected to begin officially early next year".

The site will have both business-to-consumer and business-to-business elements, covering a broad range of travel services, such as airline ticket purchases, hotel bookings, car rentals, land tours and other travel services.

A dedicated management team is being established in Singapore, and Pascal Bordat, former chief operating officer with Paris-based on-line travel agency Travelprice, has been named chief executive.

Source: Airline Business