Sabre Travel Network plans to open an online store where travel management companies can shop for apps, in much the same way that consumers shop for apps at Apple’s App Store.

Called the Sabre Red App Centre, the store will sell applications developed both by Sabre and by its authorized third-party developers.

It will be accessible through a tab on the Sabre Red Workspace, the desktop introduced last year.

“Buyers can tap into the collective creativity of developers around the world,” Greg Webb, Sabre Travel Network’s president, said.

Webb said the B2B store is the first of its kind in the world. The apps are being catalogued into a searchable database and will be “all tagged, ready and easy to access.”

They can be downloaded using the plug-in and integration capabilities of the Eclipse Rich Client Platform, the foundation on which Sabre Red is built.

Sabre’s 100-plus developers already go through an authorization process, and the apps themselves will be certified in much the same way that Apple ensures that the apps in its store actually work and won’t harm the user’s device.

Webb said Red Apps will cover a wide variety of uses and complexity, from simple utilities to more “industrial” applications, and will be priced accordingly.

He said an example is a restaurant reservations application that would enable an agent to provide an add-on service for VIP clients.

Developers will receive the Sabre Red App Developer Toolkit to create the Red Apps to Sabre’s technical specifications.

In the fourth quarter, Sabre will host a “Developer Challenge,” in which developers around the world will compete to build the most innovative, break-through Red Apps.

David Rifkin, chief executive officer of eGlobalfares, an authorized Sabre developer, said the Red Apps Centre is “a clever approach.”

Rifkin said the store “gives us another avenue to market to travel management companies, and we’ll be looking for a way to participate.”  

Rock Blanco, president of Prime Numbers Technology and a pioneer in travel agency technologies, called the Red Apps store “the right step. “ He’s hoping Sabre can replicate the experience that buyers have in consumer app stores.