Computer reservation system Sabre, based in Dallas, has terminated its distribution agreement with Aeroflot. That cripples their ability to sell tickets.
However Sabre also provides passenger service and operations for Aeroflot. Those are not being halted. Sabre has the ability to ground Aeroflot and is not doing so.
Instead Sabre’s release was very specific to terminating its distribution agreement with Aeroflot. Instead they “will continue to monitor the ongoing situation and will evaluate whether additional actions would be appropriate, taking into account legal considerations and any counter measures that could be implemented in response.”
- They’re flagging legal exposure if they actually effectively shut down Aeroflot’s operations by pulling the plug on its IT backbone
- And what sort of state-sponsored hacking would they face which would cripple airlines the world over that use their systems? This is a concern I’ve been highlighting in ongoing coverage.
Just how crippling operationally full withdrawal of Sabre services would be is unclear – how much of operations would become manual – since releases from Aeroflot and the software company haven’t offered full details on their arrangement in the past, and other providers may be performing some operational functions.
Notable IATA and ARC continue to provide settlement services to Aeroflot. There are Western companies providing a continued revenue stream to the majority government-owned Russian flag carrier.
Europe’s Amadeus computer reservation system continues to provide service to oneworld member S7 as well as to Rossiya and UTAir. I’m less persuaded that – risks and countermeasures aside – it’s appropriate to cut off service to a privately-owned company, and cut off even domestic air travel for Russian people whose ability to influence government policy is questionable.