Google moves into travel market


Google has agreed to acquire airline information service ITA.

The US$700 million deal will bring Google control of the software firm, which specialises in managing data on flight times, booking availability and ticket prices. ITA’s flagship QPX product suite targets the airline and travel agency spaces.

The company said that while it will continue to run the QPX business and seek out new customers along with maintaining old ITA deals, Google is also looking to add ITA’s tools into its own search services.

Google said that it is looking to build a consumer-oriented service which will allow users to look up flight information and prices online.

“ITA’s very talented team has created an impressive product to organise flight information,” said Google chairman and chief executive Eric Schmidt.

“Their technology opens exciting possibilities for us to create new ways for users to more easily find flight information online, and we’re looking forward to welcoming them to Google.”

The all-cash acquisition is the largest Google has made since its 2009 merger with mobile advertising specialist AdMob. That deal, only recently finalised, cost the company US$750 million.