Delta Air Lines signed a five-year agreement with iXL Inc., an Atlanta-based Internet services firm which will conceive, design and build Web-related products and services to improve customer service, build internal capabilities and increase revenues from electronic commerce.
In the first year of the contract, iXL will provide $10 million in Web based products and services to Delta through Delta Technology Inc., Delta ‘s wholly- owned subsidiary.
As a first step, Delta said the iXL arrangement will give customers more options on SkyLinks, Delta ‘s Internet site. Delta said it also intends to apply Internet-based solutions to internal communications, training and information systems, frequent flyer services, and reservations systems.
Other possible support activities from iXL include custom software development, Web site management, site hosting and Web-based training.
“Delta intends to become a leader in electronic commerce, and our agreement with iXL is another step toward that goal,” said Leo F. Mullin, Delta president and chief executive officer. “We expect iXL ‘s Internet solutions to boost Delta ‘s agility and speed in the intensely competitive global airline market. SkyLinks is already among the most popular travel- related sites on the Internet, and the addition of iXL to the SkyLinks team will deliver even more customer-pleasing services and convenience.”
Delta recently became one of the first airlines to impose a surcharge for tickets not purchased online.
“What Delta has seen is the need to think five years ahead while acting now in order to become the leader in the industry,” said Bert Ellis, iXL chief executive officer. “Our job is to speed up the application of Internet technology to every aspect of Delta ‘s business.”
“Current forecasts predict that the Internet share of total travel purchases will rise from 1 percent to 6-10 percent within the next 18 months. By 2002, an estimated $26 billion will be spent on all forms of travel on the Internet. Delta intends to be more user-friendly and more accessible. . .,” he said.