In what might be considered a logical evolution, ITA Software has expanded its business-to-business QPX airline pricing and shopping business to the mobile channel.
Hints of the move were contained in ITA Software's announcement Oct. 21 that it introduced its OntheFly mobile app, previously available to consumers on iPhones and iPods, to Google's Android platform.
In the press release, James Russell, ITA's vice president of pricing and shopping products, stated: “With the growing popularity of the Android platform among consumers and developers, we are providing our airline and travel distributor customers with new ways to take advantage of the QPX airfare shopping engine and drive new branding and revenue opportunities.”
Asked to elaborate on that statement, ITA spokeswoman Cara Kretz says ITA has extended QPX's capabilities for airlines and other travel companies so they can use the OntheFly app for iPhone and Android in their mobile solutions for consumers.
In other words, although ITA's consumer version of OntheFly includes pricing and shopping, but no booking capabilities, airlines, OTAs and other travel companies would be able to integrate the app and QPX with their booking engines to enable consumers to price, shop and book on their mobile devices.
Previously, airlines, online travel agencies, corporate booking tools and metasearch companies used QPX for their Websites, call centers and ticket counters, but not for mobile solutions.
Some might argue that this already speculated about extension of QPX to the mobile arena would come into the discussion as the Dept. of Justice reviews the Google-ITA Software deal.
While Google's Android platform at this juncture is not the smartphone leader when measured against the iPhone's penetration, Google's potential control over airline pricing data through ITA could give the Android an advantage and raise some issues.
Of course, ITA has deployed its mobile app on the iPhone and Android platforms and is working on the Blackberry version.
Kretz says ITA doesn't have any airline or other partners to announce as users of QPX's new mobile capabilities.