It was announced today, that Lufthansa Systems (LSY) will help Air Dolomiti in their implementation of e-Ticketing. According to the news, the first phase for the Italian carrier will be interline agreements with Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines. Selecting these partners is self-explanatory, as Air Dolomiti is part of the Lufthansa Group (have been taken over by Lufthansa in 2003) and is a member of the Lufthansa Regional Network and of Star Alliance (through Lufthansa). They fly to 19 destinations: most within Italy, but also to Austria (Vienna) and Germany (Frankfurt and Munich). Most of their flights connect Munich to smaller Italian cities, though and they do extensive code sharing with the above mentioned two carriers.
According to the agreement, LSY will provide advanced electronic ticketing services to Air Dolomiti’s customers, and thus allow this small, regional carrier which was established in 1989 and is based in Verona, Northern Italy, carrying 1.5 million passengers annually, to fulfill the IATA directive to introduce 100% E-Ticketing by the end of 2007, which is now actually the end of May, 2008.
First it may sound awkward that an airline begins its Electronic Ticketing project with interlining, but knowing that Air Dolomiti’s business is mostly coming from Lufthansa and other Star Alliance carriers, it makes sense from the business point of view, as they can cover the largest share of their tickets this way. From the IT point of view, thinking about it twice, it also makes sense, as both Lufthansa and Austrian are using Lufthansa Systems ET products, so Air Dolomiti will join them on the same platform, allowing seemless cooperation and operations. Joining an existing system that fulfils the very complex requirements of e-ticket interlining, enabling customers to be checked right through to their final destination (especially important for such a feeder, regional airline), without the need for traditional paper tickets even if several airlines are involved is a good start for such a small carrier, especially as the major partners are already using the same system. In a first phase, Air Dolomiti’s launch of e-ticketing will incorporate interline agreements with Austrian Airlines (so they prefer to test with a smaller amount of customers, which makes perfect sense, too).
There is only one question that remains open: what were they doing until now?? They are the partner of a major Airline, that is very well advanced towards 100% E-Ticketing, and they only start their project and sign an agreement with a service provider about 4 months before the original deadline by IATA?? That is really strange to me. Probably Air Dolomiti wanted to do this earlier, but Lufthansa Passage (the Airline) was busy with bigger interline partners first… A typical situation for small- to mid-size carriers that wish to move to 100% ET, that they have to wait for their big partners to find some time for them… Good for Air Dolomitit that they waited patiently enough, and also that now they have almost 10 months to reach their goal, until the new IATA deadline comes into effect!