Farelogix Pushes Seat Distancing Tech for Airlines After the Sabre Merger Collapses

Slammed by the coronavirus pandemic and facing a bruising legal battle in the UK and the U.S., Sabre on Friday dropped plans to take control of airline software vendor Farelogix, saving around $300 million in much-needed cash after deal-related costs. But the death of the deal may leave Farelogix in a vulnerable position.

Sabre had prized Farelogix for its specialty in two types of technology: software that helps airlines be smarter about what they sell, and software that helps them distribute their inventory directly to travel agencies with limited help from other third parties. Now Sabre will build its own technology.

For Farelogix, the crisis presents an opportunity to sell new services. Already “multiple” airline customers who use its tech for selling upgrades and premium seats and other products are now also using the company’s tools to help with in-flight social distancing. Airlines use the software to adjust seat maps to scatter individual travelers across a plane while enabling families to sit together.

The tech isn’t necessary to achieve social distancing, though. Other carriers are either using simple rules like blocking out middle seats or re-coding their core operational tech, the passenger service system.

“Blocking seats isn’t a new concept, but managing large numbers of blocked seats cost-effectively is,” said Farelogix CEO Jim Davidson. “We’re also talking with airlines to see how we can re-purpose our tech to help them build cost-effective flight schedules based on routes and load factors.”