Google to shutter the QPX Express Airfare Search API

Google has announced that on April 10, 2018, it will cease offering the QPX Express API that provides developers access to airline pricing and shopping through a standard API.

Google acquired the technology behind the QPX Express API when it completed its acquisition of travel industry software provider ITA Software in 2011. The $700 million all-cash acquisition faced regulatory scrutiny but was ultimately approved by the U.S. Department of Justice. To win approval, Google agreed that it would continue to license ITA Software's technology to third parties for five years.

While this has led to speculation that Google is shuttering the QPX Express API now that it no longer legally needs to offer it, according to a statement provided by Google, "We decided to no longer support the QPX Express API given the low interest among our travel partners." In line with that statement, Google says it will continue to make its airfare search technology available through QPX Enterprise, a version targeted at larger enterprises.

In preparation for the shuttering of the QPX Express API, no new user signups are being permitted and Google is reducing the rate it charges developers already using the API from $0.035 to $0.02 per query. Unfortunately, developers using the QPX Express API won't find a huge number of alternatives to migrate to. The most widely discussed in the wake of Google's announcement is FareportalTrack this API but a number of airlines, including Lufthansa, British Airways and AirFrance-KLM, have also started offering their own APIs so it's possible that at some point in the future, developers will more easily be able to tap into services provided by air carriers themselves.

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