|UNICEF’s Chief of Travel and Transportation Unit, Nicholas Lananna, hosted the ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the launch of UNICEF’s new state-of-the-art airline booking system. (From left to right: Bob Benack, Director for American Express Travel, Annette Hayrapetian, GM, American Express UN, UNICEF’s Nicholas Lananna, Michael Pozdol, UNICEF’s Deputy Director of Administration and Serene Dhondy, Manager Client Services for American Express)|
By Sabine Dolan
NEW YORK, 7 November 2005 - UNICEF’s Chief of Travel and Transportation Unit Nicholas Lananna, hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday to mark the launch of the agency’s new state-of-the-art airline booking system - the first online booking system in the UN.
“The system is a time saver and will dramatically cut the cost of online tickets” says Mr. Lananna about the new system which will now enable UNICEF employees to book their tickets directly. “We did an exhaustive study of the market and of all the booking systems and this particular one turned out to give us the best functionality both in terms of bookings and price.”
UNICEF’s travel booking has come a long way since the early years when the whole travel process was done manually and flights were selected from a mammoth guidebook. Since Mr. Lananna joined UNICEF in 1992, his team has streamlined the agency’s travel process. “This system will keep us in line with the state-of-the-art technology in the travel business” says Mr. Lananna.
UNICEF selected American Express Business Travel to implement the agency’s first online system. American Express is considered one of the world’s largest travel management companies and has the necessary scope to provide online booking capabilities for UNICEF offices worldwide.
|UNICEF’s travel team pose in front of an American Express placard displaying the new high-engine system.|
UNICEF’s Deputy Director of Administration Michael Pozdol, who was present at the launch, said the new system presented an opportunity for UNICEF to move with the times. “This is a chance for us to enter into a whole new age and for our travellers to take ownership of their itinerary and travel plans.”
International travel is key to UNICEF staff, since the organization works in nearly 160 countries worldwide. Trips cover the entire spectrum: from diplomatic visits to remote field missions. The travel team coordinates all travel needs, dealing with nearly every airline in the world.
Serene Dhondy, Manager Client Services for American Express and Dereck Elliot, UNICEF’s Senior Travel Assistant, agree the high end booking engine will dramatically enhance productivity and make travelers more independent.
This top shelf booking tool is effective starting today. “We’re now travelling to cyberspace as well!” commented Mr. Lananna at the conclusion of the ceremony.