Fledgling startup Jizo is claiming a significant role in the evolving world of airline distribution this week by becoming the first travel search engine to get access to Russian airlines.
The site, which launched in June this year, has secured a deal with Russia's notoriously protective distribution systems run by SIRENA and TAIS, getting access to content from a string of airlines which would ordinarily unavailable to those off the GDS grid.
Jizo claims air content on both the SIRENA and TAIS systems are out of reach from other search engines, giving it quite a sizeable lead over other consumer brands and also those outside of the country eager to give travellers access to the vast array of internal Russian airlines.
Out of approximately 30 Russian scheduled carriers, only five are hosted on external distribution systems (such as Aeroflot on Sabre), meaning there is a vast swathe of content currently inaccessible to travellers unless they visit a SIRENA or TAIS-connected travel agency.
Travelport has a existing strategic partnership, signed in July 2010, with SIRENA to give Russian agents access to international carriers via the Worldspan and Galileo platforms.
The Jizo deal will be the first time that many of the Russian carriers will be available in a consumer-facing search engine both in and outside of the country.
SIRENA is a system which was created in 1972 as the Soviet GDS. After the collapse of the Iron Curtain the organisation split into two (SIRENA and TAIS), essentially to allow competition between the pair.
SIRENA commercial director Marina Volodina says:
"No other search engine in the world has established direct access to the broadest CIS fare databases before. With this project Jizo becomes a unique metasearch engine currently including the most extensive proportion of domestic flights in Russia."
NB:Image of Moscow Airport via Shutterstock.