The partnership between AXESS and Travelport was first announced in April 2012 when Travelport was selected as a technology partner on account of its alignment in strategic thinking with AXESS. Since then, the two organizations have been working in close collaboration to assess the needs of the region’s resurgent travel industry and design a new, enhanced GDS to meet the demands of Japanese travel agents and travelers. GDP figures in Japan, the world’s third largest economy, have been steadily increasing over recent quarters by around one per cent. Replacing the current AXESS CRS, but retaining its existing AXESS CREA agency desktop and a number of other popular AXESS applications and solutions, the new AXESS host system will benefit from Travelport's state-of-the-art technology infrastructure and will be hosted in its Atlanta (US) data center. The upgraded GDS technology will provide travel agents and their customers with numerous new benefits including: up-to-date web services solutions; powerful low fare, air shopping technology through Travelport’s fares and shopping platform, enhanced hotel and car content and improved airline connectivity. As part of the partnership, AXESS also stands to benefit from the US $300m IT investment Travelport makes on an annual basis. Travelport is a regular member of the coveted “Information Week Top 500 IT companies” list and its state-of-the-art data center, and supporting team, has also been the recipient of regular, high profile industry accolades. Hoshiko Nakano, President and CEO for AXESS, said: We are delighted to announce the delivery of our new AXESS host system. AXESS understands that the airline and travel industry businesses are changing, and, as the bridge of these industries, this requires the GDS to also transform. Assuring global capability and cutting-edge products is crucial for AXESS to maintain its leading position in the GDS industry. By leveraging Travelport's innovative technology, AXESS will continue to invest in new products and solutions as well as further enhancing our current offerings to be able to deliver more value to both airlines and travel agencies. It is always our motto to be Japan’s best GDS partner. Kurt Ekert, Chief Commercial Officer for Travelport, added: "Today’s news that we’re launching the new AXESS host system, exactly when we said we would, and with all of the benefits it offers Japan’s travel trade, represents a great milestone in the technology partnership between AXESS and Travelport and opens the pathways for further opportunities in the future. We’ve developed a very strong and positive working relationship with AXESS since April last year, which has always been focused around putting the Japanese traveler first, and that’s exactly what we’ve achieved with this significant initiative.” AXESS-connected travel agents will migrate to the new AXESS host system in a phased manner starting 1 October, 2013, with completion scheduled for the end of March, 2014. During this period, the AXESS and Travelport teams will be working hand in hand with travel agents to ensure a smooth transition with heightened training and customer service resources on the ground. When fully implemented, the GDS partnership will allow for enhanced customer service for Japanese travelers while abroad.