“Thomas Cook and Atos Origin increase speed of booking for HST city hopping”

Zaventem, 9 October 2006

Faster processing gives traveller real-time confirmation of reservation

Atos Origin, an international IT services supplier, and tour operator Thomas Cook Belgium are making reservations for city hopping to London, Paris and Amsterdam by high speed train (HST) quicker and more efficient. From now on, all reservations are made in real-time and the client will no longer have to wait for confirmation from the tour operator or the Belgian railway company NMBS.

Tour operator Thomas Cook has recently started working with an updated system for booking HST trips to London, Paris and Amsterdam, and it's producing considerable benefits. Previously, a reservation for an HST ticket was booked in Thomas Cook's central system. This reservation request was then transferred to the system of Rail 1, NMBS's distribution organisation, to check the actual availability. With Thomas Cook's new system, any travel agent can inform the client about the available capacity in real-time. So the client knows immediately whether he can book a city trip based on his requirements.

A joint project team was set up, led by Thomas Cook Belgium, consisting of staff from Thomas Cook and Atos Origin. Atos Origin has a working relationship with Thomas Cook of close to 10 years, and has extensive knowledge and expertise with regard to the relevant and specific nodes at the tour operator. Based on a thorough analysis, the back-office systems were adapted and a Java application was developed for smooth communication between Thomas Cook's mainframe system and Rail 1's web services. These adaptations also accelerate and simplify a number of procedures such as the automatic processing of train tickets, which no longer have to be sent manually.

“Thanks to the innovations which have been made to the city hopping product, the travel agent can confirm immediately to his client whether his trip can proceed", says Joost Devos, project manager at Thomas Cook Belgium. “Not only do the adjustments to the system offer advantages for travellers, our travel agents and internal staff will also share in the benefits. The system operates more efficient because unnecessary stages have been eliminated and there's less manual work to do. This results in savings on time and costs for the staff. We're very happy about the project and this partnership with Atos Origin.”

“Time-to-market, business efficiency and cost savings are key concepts in the current economic situation,” says Tonny Vanderhoven, Director Consulting & Systems Integration at Atos Origin in Belux. “This is exactly what our improvements to the reservations module, in collaboration with the people at Thomas Cook Belgium, aim to achieve. The new system will deliver great benefits for the staff, the travel agents and the clients of Thomas Cook.”

The updated system was delivered in July 2006. IT specialists from Thomas Cook Belgium and from Atos Origin worked together on this project to get the desired result. Numerous employees in the tour operator's distribution division, like thousands of travellers, will from now on be able to enjoy the benefits of Thomas Cook Belgium's improved reservation system.

About Atos Origin
Atos Origin is an international information technology services company. Its business is turning client vision into results through the application of consulting, systems integration and managed operations. The company's annual revenues are EUR 5.5 billion and it employs over 47,000 people in 40 countries. Atos Origin is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic Games and has a client base of international blue-chip companies across all sectors. Atos Origin is quoted on the Paris Eurolist Market and trades as Atos Origin, Atos Euronext Market Solutions, Atos Worldline and Atos Consulting.

About Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook Belgium nv, the market leader in the Belgian travel industry, arranges holidays for 1.6m Belgians each year, and distributes the Thomas Cook, Pegase and Neckermann brands.
Its own airline Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium provides holiday flights to all destinations on the Mediterranean.
www.neckermann.be - www.thomascook.be - www.thomascookairlines.com - www.pegase.be

For more information:

Christelle Colin
+32 2 690 26 04
Caroline Crouch
+ 44 20 7830 4233