Archive for the 'eticketing' Category

Best Of AirlineWorld 2007

This is the last day of the year. As billions of people around the world, we also took a look back to what happened in the old year and made some New Year’s Resolutions.

For us 2007 was not a full year as we started our blog in June. It was a nice calm Sunday and Szafi wrote her first post about the Radio Alphabet – a useful tool not just for aviation fans. Balint01 joined her on the 7th with his first post about “Fuller Planes – Good Or Bad?” – a brief explanation of revenue and capacity management of airlines.

A380 

A380 was one of our main topics this year. We could see the a video of an imaginery evacuation of an A380, we reported on that quite unusual initiation that Singapore Airlines sold the first tickets to the A380 on e-Bay and gave the money (USD 1,25 million) for charity. We tried to find out more about the possible cabin configurations and then we reported on the first delivery.

Boeing 787

Boeing 787, the Dreamliner was our other favorite topic. We wrote about it when it was revealed, we put it in our blog header, we reported on the first announcement of delay that predicted 2 months. Now it seems that a 6-month delay is more realistic.

Developments 

Besides A380 and B787 we saw the birth of a Russian jet called Sukhoi Superjet and a Chinese one called ARJ21-700. We kept track of technology trends in aviation. We wrote an article about RFID usage at airlines and airports, about e-ticketing, a new online payment method at Qantas, a weightless flight, a solar powered, unmanned aircraft. Also we were interested in service developments such as the new Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow Airport, Lufthansa’s new A380 First Class Concept, Boeing’s 747 development to keep up with A380,

Crashes 

Unfortunately again some serious accidents happened. We saw around 200 people dying in a very tragical crash in Sao Paulo, brazil. 19 people died in an accident of Air Moorea on the way to Tahiti. When China Airline’ 737 burst into fire and blew up, everybody could escape in time thanks to the flight crew, who was criticized for being rude – we thought it was better being rude than being inactive. Later it turned out that a loose bolt caused the fire. There was a sad collision of two planes at an Air Show in Radom, Poland. SAS Airlineshad a bad series of crash landings – without serious injuries – of its Dash 8 turboprop planes. Finally they decided on grounding all their Dash 8 fleet. 87 died in One-Two-Go Airlines crash in Phuket, Thailand. A few days later rallye driver champion Colin McRae died in a helicopter crash over Scotland. The most commented article was the weird accident of an Airbus A340 on the ground of the Airbus factory during testing. The last serious accident of the year was an MD-83 crash in Turkey killing 56.

Photo reports 

We received a lot of photos from our friends and airline enthusiasts, so we could show a photo report of a Royal Aircraft in Budapest, Red Bull Air Race in Budapest, an Air Show in Kecskemet and the A340 Airbus crash at the Toulouse Airbus factory.

Innovations 

We criticized airlines and other players of the industry about wrong steps and we were happy to present good initiations of other players. We found KLM’s promotion: a gift of a costmetics set for online bookers a very smart and useful initiation. We loved Iberia’s enviroment-friendly attitude with naming their new aircrafts Royal Owl, Imperial Eagle and other endangered species. We could read funny comments about an interesting topic: Vatican’s Air Mistral. IATA’s initiation of a greener aviation industry was also worth a post.

Sex and rock and roll 

And finally we tried to entertain those not interested in professional matters of the airline business with articles like Sex in an airplane, Sexy stewardess uniforms – with special attention to the self-designed uniform of Easyjet, Superstar pilots, Special aircraft paintings and we learned about where lost luggage end up going.

We also lost a very key figure of the European airline indusry. Tony Ryan, the founder of Ryanair died on 03 October at the age of 71. Net year we will definately write an article about him, because only a few know about his role in today’s aviation business.

And what is our New Year’s resolution? Well, we’ll do our best to entertain you and draw your attention to the magic world of airlines we so much love.

We both wish you a very happy, successful new year and please keep on reading us! 🙂

By Szafi and balint01
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Flight Review: British Airways

We have been considering writing flight reviews for some time, and now finally here is the first one.

British Airways Logo

Route: BUDAPEST-London/Gatwick-ATLANTA
Operating Airlines: oneworld: British Airways and Malev Hungarian Airlines
Travel Date: 06NOV2007

Ticket Purchase

I have bought the ticket through www.ba.com, which was a very nice experience. The website provides you with lowest price options on and around the days you have searched for showing the options in an easy-to-understand, coloured format. After selecting (confirming) your travel dates, it gives you a detailed list of all the available flight combinations, also colored so that you can easily recognize the cheapest option. What I really liked about the flight descriptions, that it explicitly tells you operational information after or between the concerned flights. For example it would tell you “Warning – your connection will involve travel between airports by coach or bus, the cost of which is not included in your fare.” And this text would be displayed between those two flights, where one arrives at Heathrow, while the other leaves from Gatwick. Really easy to understand, and very visual. After selecting your flights and providing passenger details you can pay for your trip with your credit card and upon successful payment, you receive a confirmation email immediately (as expected). The site also takes you immediately to the “Manage My Booking” section, that provides very usefull information and allows you to manage your booking. For example you can save time at the airport by filling out the APIS data (required for entry to the USA) online, you can also add frequent flier number if you forgot to add it at the time of the booking, and can change or upgrade your flights right from here, but can check the online entertainment options, including the movies you will be offered, too.

Offsetting Carbon Emissions 

You can also follow a link from the “Manage My Booking” page to offset your carbon-dioxide emissions with Climate Care (http://www.climatecare.org/britishairways/calculators/) using a pollution calculator. For this particular return flight my emmission is 1,86 t of CO2, which costed me EUR 20,75 to offset. Climate Care has also sent me a British Airways co-branded Certificate to certify that I have offset the CO2 generated by my return flight.
(Being curious I have also checked the Lufthansa website partnered with myclimate.org, launched a few months ago, and to my surprise for the same route it calculated: 1,705 t of CO2, and suggested a compensation of EUR 34. Where the difference comes from, I don’t know…)

Check-In

To be in control of my seats, I chose to check-in online. It opens 24 hours before the actual flight (each flight opens individually). Unfortunately check-in for the BUD-LGW segment was not available on the BA website, as it is operated by Malev Hungarian Airlines. But for the British Airways flight, I could check-in flawlessly, where I got a pre-assigned seat, which I could change while using a seat-map of the actual aircraft that I was going to fly. The process is very straight forward, and easy to understand I think. After the successful transaction I printed my boarding pass on a normal A4 size paper, that included a bar code for later identification at the airport. The website also gave me check-in summary after completing it. Unlike some other airlines, BA did not replace this home-printed paper with a magnetic stripe “traditional” boarding pass at the airport, this was the only boarding paper I used to get on my flight.

Due to the above mentioned situation I also used the check-in desks at Budapest, where they checked me in quickly for the Budapest-London segment, but they had no information of my other already self-checked-in segment. They could not confirm if I actually have 35A as my seat or not, but she said she can not do anything with my second flight (the systems blocks her) and suggested that I look for a BA transfer desk at Gatwick. She could check-in my luggage all the way, though. Upon arrival to Gatwick I contacted BA Ticket desk in the transit area, and the lady there was also very nice, told me that indeed I have 35A, but even though my luggage was checked-in all the way in Budapest already, she does not see it in the system. So I gave her my bag-tag, which then she recorded in their system.

Malev B737-700 (HA-LOL)

1. BUDAPEST – LONDON GATWICK (BA 4450 operated by Malev: MA 612)

Aircraft: Boeing 737-700NG (HA-LOL), new, clean, comfortable aircraft operated by Malev Hungarian Airlines
Class: Economy
Punctuality: Flight took off 10 minutes late, arrived exactly on time.
Boarding: After a long-long queue at the security (airport’s responsibility) I had to rush to the gate, otherwise it was OK
Seats: Full leather seats in both classes, with average legroom
Flight Attendants: There were 4 of them, 3 young girls and 1 older purser. Two of the girls were very good looking, all of them were very friendly.
Meals: We got hot breakfast of scrambled eggs, beans and a wurst as well as freshly warmed/heated buns. Also got orange juice and tea, could have gotten a wide variety of soft drinks, or wine or beer.
Entertainment: There are LCD screens above the seats per every three-four rows in the aircraft, which play Malev and Hungary PR material throughout the whole flight.

G-VIIF Boeing 777

2. LONDON GATWICK – ATLANTA (BA 2227)

Aircraft: Boeing 777-200 (G-VIIF), not so new, at some places worn-down aircraft operated by British Airways
Class: Economy
Punctuality: Flight took off 10 minutes late, arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
Boarding: The security at Gatwick was very long, I was happy I had a three hour layover so I didn’t have to run, and I could relax while standing in the line. It was confusing that when finally they put up on the screens that we need to go to gate 55, while walking there I caught the last few words of an announcement saying that passenger flying to Atlanta should proceed to gate 59. It doesn’t sound that bad, but the gates are on two different sides of Gatwick, so it would have caused a running excercise if the announcement proves true. As I wasn’t sure if it was about my flight (there was another flight to Atlanta about an hour after mine) I went to the gate which was on the screens – it was a good decision as that was our gate. After the gate-boarding pass check-in there were seats available for only about half of the passengers, so either be there early or arrive late! Other than that, boarding went smoothly.
Seats: Full leather seats with proper legroom, as comfortable as a regular economy seat can get. Tip: if legroom is important for you don’t get a window seat, as the entertainment cables go on the window seat’s chairleg, which reduces free legroom. It doesn’t really leave you the option to put a laptop bag under the seat in front of you for example.
Flight Attendants: They really did their job of serving meals and overlooking the passengers for security. That’s all they did. No special smile or service, dry English manner.

Main meal on BA2227  Snack Meal on BA 2227

Meals: Not so long after take-off we received a small pack of snacks with drinks and later on the main meal. The choice was chicken or pasta, I took the chicken with assorted vegetables (potatoes, broccoli and mashed carrots). The taste was good, just like that of the standard salad (with fish) and the blackberry pie. The Twix chocolate bar tasted as everywhere around the world. The bun was not fresh and not warmed, not tasty at all. The white wine was OK, but it’s probably not award winning, either. Shortly before landing we got another “meal” which was a small pre-packed sandwhich with a small carrot-cake with raisins and a pack of dried fruits. Drinks were served once again. During the flight if somebody wanted to get snacks or extra drinks, the kitchen in the back of the plane was always “open”.

Dangling armrest on BA   Dangling armrest on BA 2.

Entertainment: Every passenger in economy has their own LCD screen and built-in remote control in the armrest. My armrest was really worn-down and actually broken. The dirty looking plastic cover was living it’s own life, as you can see on the pictures above. It should be dangling around like this, it was annoying. Just like the fact that I tried 2 headphones where each had only one side working, then I put on my own headphones which just worked properly. As it is a Skype enabled one, the flight attendants spotted it and brought a third one to try, which finally worked on both sides! It may only be me, but I always get a half- or non-working headphone set on my long-haul flights at first… On the other hand, the radio stations were OK, and the movies, too. The movies start at un-announced times, all movies starting at the same time. I watched three of them: Die Hard 4, Ocean’s Thirteen and Knocked Up.
Amenities: Each economy passenger received a bag of socks, and toothbrush-toothpaste.

Overall Experience

Despite the minor glitches on the BA flight with the entertainment (armrest and headphones) I would take this flight again, I had a good time onboard both oneworld flights. A big advantage was the convenient schedule (leaving Budapest at 7:10 and arriving in Atlanta at 16:25) and the pricetag: this return flight costed USD 1072, with the purchase taking place exactly one week before the departure (so relatively late).

by balint01

CSA Czech Airlines Launches New Virtual Low-Cost Airline: Click4Sky.com

CSA Czech Airlines Logo CSA Czech Airlines, a member of the SkyTeam alliance since 2001 with an annual passenger number of around 5.5 million is going through a lot of changes these days. They are in the middle of a fleet renewal program replacing their Boeing 737s with Airbus A320 family aircraft, they are introducing a new overall visual presentation that includes the redesign of their downtown Prague sales office, new uniforms and just lately the introduction of a redesigned logo. Also as part of these changes, which are paving the road for a hopefully successful upcoming privatization sometime next year, CSA has launched a new low-cost airline:  Click4Sky.com

Actually, the new low-cost airline is not really an airline, it’s more of a marketing tool, as they will not operate a fleet or any aircraft, or crew, they simply buy the unsold seats on the CSA flights and then sell those to their passengers. It is basically a separately branded, long-term seat-sale at the Czech National Carrier but instead of advertising low prices on CSA flights and open the CSA brand to a different, low-cost clientele, they have created a separate brand with fixed prices. So in reality, the new Airline is a simple website selling remaining CSA seats at low prices, nothing more, nothing less. But the idea is great! It keeps the CSA brand as an alliance brand with their focus on business travellers and frequent fliers, while the Click4Sky.com brand can serve a different market segment, while keeping the big brother “untouched”. Technically a similar solution has already been in use, with another Czech Airline: TravelService. They are a charter airline, but have launched a low-cost brand called SmartWings, which has a dedicated fleet and network, but also sells the remaining seats on charter flights operated by TravelService aircraft. But the CSA solution is new that it only does the later solution, it doesn’t operate a single aircraft! A Virtual Airline – we have joked about such an idea with my ex-colleagues at Malev, but never went farther than that. Well, CSA did, and it seems like a really good idea!

Click4Sky.com website 

Tickets can only be purchased via the new website (which after all is THE airline in itself…): www.click4sky.com.  You have to book and purchase your ticket at the same time, and as usual in case of an e-Ticket, upon sucessful payment you receive an email with all necessary details of your flight. They guarantee a low and final price of CZK 1990 (~EUR 72.10) for each direction, that includes all fees. Tickets then can not be changed or refunded, and have several other restrictions as well, such as spending a minimum of 3 days or a weekend at the destination, and you always have to buy a return ticket, one ways are not offered. They offer 36 European destinations (basically all European destinations of CSA – major airports, not 100 km’s from a city as a “normal” low-cost would do) and Cairo, Egypt, and on each flight the passengers will receive the same onboard treatment as if they had bought a regular Czech Airlines ticket (including refreshments and newspapers for example). (It would be funny if a flight attendant would go around with the trolley and give your neighbour a sandwhich and drinks, but would leave you out from the service. Just think about how much administration would be required so that the flight attendants would know who is a regular CSA passenger and which seat seats a Click4Sky passenger – not worth it from an operational point of view.)

CSA expects an annual extra revenue of several hundred millions of Czech Crowns and targets an around 20% of the Czech low-cost market within 2 years. Quite ambitious, but not impossible!

by balint01

100% E-Ticketing: IATA Places Last Order For Paper Tickets

On 27AUG2007, IATA has placed its last order for paper ticket stocks to be used by its associated travel agencies before the 31MAY2008 deadline for 100% Electronic Ticketing. This means that IATA will only support Electronic Tickets starting 01JUN2008, paper tickets will become collectors’ items!

TAT Type Paper Ticket

The final order was for approximately 16.5 million paper tickets to be supplied by seven specialised printers which are to be distributed among and used by some 60.000 accredited travel agencies in 162 markets worldwide. IATA’s settlement systems issue over 400 million ticket annually. The elimination of paper tickets would not only cut airlines’ costs by USD$9 for every traveller (a total of USD$ 3 billion for the whole industry) but would also mean that air travel – criticized by environmentalists for its part in global warming – would save 50,000 mature trees a year, according to Giovanni Bisignani, director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Non-IATA airlines, mainly low-cost carriers such as Ireland’s Ryanair and Britain’s easyJet, already have a paper-free ticket system where travelers are registered in computers and present only an identity document at check-in. Now with the pressure from IATA, the traditional carriers are moving in this direction as well.

An interesting statement from the airline body says that China, one of the fastest-growing markets for air travel and host to next year’s Olympic Games, is heading to be the first country in the world to operate an entirely paper-free ticketing system by the end of this year. Just like in many other fields, China has done a very impressive progress in this matter as well, because 3 years ago, when the 100% ET program of IATA was launched, there were no E-tickets issued in the most populated country in the world and now they are headed to be the first country to eliminate paper tickets, before the original deadline!

by balint01

100% E-Ticketing = 96.5% E-Ticketing!

As AirlineWorld had reported earlier, IATA has extended the deadline for 100% Electronic Ticketing. Not so long ago IATA has also admitted (which they probably knew all along the road) that pure 100% Electronic Ticketing (ET) will never be reachable for the whole market. Here is a quote from IATA (Bryan Wilson, ET Project Director in an ATW Webinar):

“We now understand the real target is 96.5%” *

* for IATA BSP’s (central clearing house solution for travel agents and airlines in most of the major IATA markets around the globe)

96.5% non-paper ticketing

Now the question is this: Where is that remaining 3.5% and how come it will remain Paper Ticketing?

First of all, about 20% of interline journeys (itineraries that involve more than one airline) will remain paper ticket based due to the interline ET agreement not being in place between the two involved airlines (this accounts for 2.4% of the total), about 1% of tickets will be paper tickets as per the choice of the travel agents, and about 0.1% will be accounted for airlines who choose not to introduce electronic ticketing at all. IATA says, this “remaining 3.5% will be satisfied by other means.” This “other means” would actually mean other, non-ET solutions, such as an agent issuing a paper MPD (Multi-Purpose Document), which then later is turned into a ticket by the airline, or some of the airlines deploying their own paper ticket stocks at agencies, who then issue paper tickets for that particular airline. (At the moment IATA centrally deploys the airline independant paper ticket stocks to their registered travel agencies worldwide, so this responsibility would be moved from IATA to the airline that chose not to move to 100% ET, at their own expenses.)

96.5% of airlines involved 

IATA has classified each member airline to a group (that is differentiated by a color) based on their plans/state of ET readiness. Out of 348 IATA member airlines that used the IATA BSP in May 2007:

  • Platinum (100% ET): 9 airlines
  • Green (own ET and interline ET enabled): 156 airlines
  • Yellow (own ET in BSP only – at the moment): 62 airlines
  • Orange (having a plan for ET, including 1st date of ET in BSP): 85 airlines
  • Red (no plan for ET yet): 0 airlines (so all members have expressed their plans by MAY07)
  • Purple (does not plan to implement ET at all): 33 airlines
  • Brown (will use another airline code to issue tickets): 3 airlines

This means 3 airlines will be “hidden” behind another carrier using the same airline code, so they will practically introduce ET, and will have some backoffice accounting work to do in-house. 33 airlines however (almost 10% of all member airlines!!) plan not to roll-out Electronic Ticketing at all! This is quite a surprising number at first glance, but in reality, these are mostly very small, charter airlines who do not sell their tickets via travel agencies and reservation systems, so they can have their own alternative ways to replace electronic tickets and they actually only account for about 0.1% of the total sales. But 321 airlines (89% of the member airlines) will fulfill the BSP (travel agency) enabled Electronic Ticketing requirement by the prolonged deadline of 31MAY2008!! This is a great achievement!

96.5% of all tickets sold at travel agencies

On the other hand, if we look at ticket volumes the situation slightly changes. As you would guess, if a large airline becomes ET enabled, and especially interline ET enabled (is able to sell ET’s that include another airline) with more and more partner airlines, the ticket volume percentage would jump much more! So by MAY2007 the global penetration of ET’s within the IATA BSP’s (travel agency sales) was already at 80.7%! IATA projects this number to grow to 92% by the end of the year. The difference from there to reach the above mentioned 96.5% means 18 million tickets!! Quite a lot if you try to imagine this many paper tickets physically – it would make a really huge pile of paper, even though these 18 million paper tickets only account for 4.5% of worldwide airline ticket sales! By thinking about this, it’s much easier to imagine that by stopping paper ticket issuance totally and moving to 100% ET really can save the worldwide airline industry about 3 billion USD annually. (Not to mention all the environmental impacts…)

96.5% in Interline Volumes

Based on the above numbers, IATA has decided to extend the deadline for the issuance of the last paper tickets at an IATA registered travel agency, due to the fact that it is believed some airlines would not be able to make it by the end of 2007 (the original deadline). Also the service providers are overloaded with interline ET connection requests, which they seem not to be able to handle before the year end. IATA foresees that by the end of 2007, some 2100 interline Agreements will be introduced, which would cover about 75% of all interline connections. In terms of ticket volumes, this means a higher percentage. To get to the desired level of 80% (which would mean 2300 agreements), many service providers and airlines would have to be involved at an increased pace, and the difference would actually be 2.3 million tickets!

by balint01

Worldspan Joins Galileo and Apollo at Travelport

Worldspan by Travelport Logo

According to the news today, Travelport, the parent company of Galileo and Apollo GDS platforms has completed its $1.4 billion (!) acquisition of Worldspan yesterday after the deal was given regulatory clearance by the European Commission, which concluded that the reduction of GDSs operating in the European Economic Area from four to three would be “unlikely to result in coordinated behavior” between the remaining GDSs. “The Commission has therefore concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition within the EEA or a significant part of it,” it said. Galileo and Worldspan are the second- and fourth-largest GDSs respectively operating in the EU.

This move makes Travelport a dominant player in the field, by controlling three major GDS platforms. While Travelport has talked of potential synergies between Galileo and Worldspan, it also has indicated that it won’t merge the platforms. Galileo said that even if it thought forced migration was a good idea, “attempts to do this in the past by some of our competitor GDSs have shown that such a strategy would be likely to fail.” According to ATW News, that is likely a reference to Amadeus, which experienced some rocky moments 10 years ago when it acquired System One and forced to migrate its users to the Amadeus system. We will have to sit back and wait for a few months/years to see if this will really be the case. It would be also a possible solution for bigger cost-cutting that the three Travelport controlled GDSs do actually merge in the background, but will keep three UI’s and brand-names to keep the travel agencies and suppliers happy and not to force a migration. Galileo and Apollo are strong with travel agencies, while Worldspan has the extra value of having airline customers and products, and very good online tools. Worldspan also cooperates with SITA on electronic ticketing and ET hub solution for airlines for example. In the world of always improving airline websites and booking engines, a GDS needs to keep up a good online presence (which allows travel agencies to become online travel agencies), which Worldspan has been very good in. In Hungary there has been a major travel agency that only made the move from Galileo to Worldspan to enable itself to enter the online travel market.

Galileo will be enhanced by Worldspan’s online distribution technology platform, while Worldspan will benefit from Galileo’s expanded supplier base and expansive content,” Travelport GDS President and CEO Gordon Wilson said. “The complementary strengths of both companies will bring improved offerings for our agency and supplier customers, and we are particularly excited about the technology innovations and breadth of services we will be able to bring our suppliers and subscribers in the future.

Galileo and Worldspan produced more than 379 million combined air bookings in 2006 while operating in 145 countries and processing as many as 15,000 transactions per sec., according to Travelport. The combined company will serve 750 travel suppliers and 63,000 travel agencies.

by balint01

Cathay Pacific Signs for Amadeus Altea – Who Will Win?

A quote from the news:

Cathay Pacific signed a 10-year contract with the airline IT provider Amadeus. Cathay Pacific and its subsisdiary Dragonair will adopt the complete customer management solution Altea for reservations, managing inventory and departure control.

Cathay Pacific Airways, which already uses Amadeus’ internet booking engine to power its commercial website, has identified IT as a core component of its strategy as it seeks to expand operations and continue to grow in some of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets like China, as well as the US and Europe.

According to Hans Jorgensen, Vice President, Strategic Airline & Partner Programmes at Amadeus: “As one of the world’s most successful airlines, in terms of both profitability and growth, we are delighted that they have selected Altéa CMS as their customer management system.”He continued: “We believe that Cathay Pacific’s decision as the first Asian carrier to choose the whole Altéa suite of solutions, will be viewed positively by other airlines and catalyse growth for Amadeus in the Asia-Pacific region, as a leading IT provider in the travel industry.”Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair, who together carried 22 million passengers in 2006, join 42 airlines across the globe that have selected Altéa CMS.

Who is lucky?

Again a oneworld member that was given the right to implement the full Amadeus Altea solution, probably within a reasonable timeframe (however, the news do not state when the planned cutover will take place, Amedeus first has to deal with LH, AF and KL among others…). Believe it or not it is not the supplier who is lucky here. Amadeus – chosen by the 3 major airline alliances – is on the right track to become the number one IT provider in the industry and thus rule the world of airline IT providers. The airlines need a common platform for passenger handling more than ever. Major IT providers (Galileo, Sabre, Worldspan, SITA and others) gained some market in the past 20 years, but the future will not see them as players in the market if they will not change their strategy. The problem is that free data transfer is more important for airlines than prices. But there is no free data transfer between different GDSes, DCSes and inventories, so the only solution left for them is to pick one and use only that. At the moment, Amadeus is the only one that offers the full suite of airline solutions, in an integrated package, which has been rolled out almost completely already and is working at some airline customers, as we speak.

Amadeus was chosen very rationally by oneworld, then Sky Team and Star Alliance followed them, too. They have already ruled the European market and now they are on the way to Asia.

So how can other providers win some clients for themselves?

There is still a field to play. Amadeus has 2 very tough weaknesses, which can be an opportunity for others. One of these weaknesses is that they do not have the capacity to start more new projects, therefore airlines cannot sign up with them, they would simply not receive a “slot”. This is why I wrote Cathay was the lucky winner here, because there is a huge queue of airlines wanting to adopt the Altea technology. The other weakness is the huge and a little bit chaotic organization. There are too many managers and not enough real working hands, therefore production is less effective. We have been to meetings, where there were at least 20 people sitting and nobody knew what his or her task will be in the project. Of course later about 5-6 people had real tasks. There is one more good thing that other system providers can use: the Amadeus API. You can basically do whatever you want with it – there are a few system providers that already did that actually. You just have to know the system. Summing up if I were one of these providers, I’d put all my cards on offering solutions to airlines that serve their data exchange needs by interfacing Amadeus (as well as my own solution – if I have one) and give them a very similar, integrated solution for GDS, inventory and DCS and I would give them deadlines that are acceptable. I would also provide personal consultancy and good customer relations, in which Amadeus is also not the best due to being overloaded with new customers. If I were another provider on the market, I would also offer some tailor made enhancements/modifications, which Amadeus usually refuses to do – due to the high overload again. But I would also need a working solution to compete with Amadeus, “slideware” presentations would not do the trick… Whoever has that at hand, will win.

By Szafi

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