In an effort to tap the potential of online travel sales in Japan, American Airlines has launched its Japanese website, powered by Internet self-service engine e-Travel Planitgo.

e-Travel Planitgo is a part of Amadeus’ suite of IT solutions for airlines.

The airline has joined five other airlines with Japanese websites powered by e-Travel Planitgo, including Air France, Cathay Pacific Airways, Korean Air, Philippine Airlines and Thai Airways.

Theo Panagiotoulias, managing director Japan, American Airlines, said that the decision to partner Amadeus for its expansion in the Asia Pacific was driven by IT solutions providers’ “track record and market knowledge necessary to understand where customer-centric online faring technology is heading”.

Apart from Japan, American Airlines worldwide sites include ones in Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Latin America, Spain, Switzerland, UK and the US.

According to an official statement, Japan, Australia, and Hong Kong have been classified by Nielsen/NetRatings (Nielsen//NetRatings Global NetView Analysis, excluding Internet Applications and Proprietary Channels, March 2005) as “emerging online markets” having demonstrated double-digit growth in time spent by householders online in the last year.

Specifically, Japanese spent 12% more time on the web at home in 2004 compared to the previous year, showing key potential for online travel sales in that market, adds the release.

Peter Smith, vice-president, Amadeus e-Travel Asia Pacific, said that Amadeus e-Travel’s solution can be translated into 21 languages, with www.aal.co.jp being powered by Planitgo.

To its credit, e-Travel had last year worked with EVA Air, which had launched Chinese and English-language versions of e-Travel® Planitgo to power their internet booking websites in Taiwan and the United States. In March this year, e-Travel had signed a deal with Asian Development Bank (ADB) for its corporate travel management solution e-Travel Aergo.