This just in: ITA Software picked up another airline customer for its QPX airfare pricing and shopping system: Southwest Airlines.
The press release hadn't dropped at press time, but the functionality is now live on Southwest.com. The use of ITA gives Southwest a bunch of new capabilities, including calendar-based search and air search using flexible dates.
One key element of this whole thing is that it doesn't seem to alter the airline's distribution strategy. You can't find Southwest flights in any of the metasearch engines, including the crowd powered by ITA (including Kayak, TripAdvisor and others) and Southwest's absence in metasearch will remain in place. It also doesn't change Southwest's availability status in the Sabre and Apollo GDSs.
Another important aspect of this relates to international codeshares.
Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King indicates that the use of ITA QPX will enable Southwest to implement pending international codeshares with Volaris in Mexico and WestJet in Canada.
"We are working on the technology," King says.
ITA's QPX system is to believed to be the dominant one among U.S. airline websites, and the addition of Southwest certainly won't crimp that status.
ITA already powers air pricing and shopping for Continental, American, United, Alaska, US Airways, Air Canada, TAP, Al Italia and ANA.
Sabre hosts Southwest's res system, but didn't operate the air search function on Southwest.com.
King says implementing ITA on Southwest.com amounts to an "enhancement to some of our current internal technologies. Our current reservation system technologies did not change."