Posts Tagged 'IATA'

Top 5 Airlines in 2008

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has published its latest ranking of the world’s airlines in terms of passengers carried and passenger kilometres flown on scheduled flights for the year 2008.

International and Domestic – Number of passengers

Based on number of passengers carried on scheduled flights in 2008 and considering International as well as Domestic traffic, US and Chinese companies seem to rule the world with Southwest Airlines taking number one. However, if we would count Delta and Northwest as one entity (they merged in 2008), they would claim the number one spot (seen in line 0 in the table below). It should be noticed that the fifth position in terms of passengers carried has been taken by a Chinese air company (China Southern Airlines) – which also signals the ongoing growth of the Chinese domestic air travel market.

Top5 Airlines in 2008 in terms of Passengers on Domestic And International flights

International – Number of passengers

Looking at only International scheduled traffic in 2008 (excluding domestic), Ryanair has grown to be the largest International airline in the world. Mostly European airlines are included in this bucket, as most of their flights are international, even though the distances flown would in most cases match up with the US (or Chinese) Domestic flights. This just shows how strong the US airlines are on their domestic market and how weak they are on the international routes – in terms of number of passengers. It is interesting to note that Air France and KLM are a merged company since 2004, but operate their separate networks. Also interesting to see that 2 of the top 5 are low-cost carriers (Ryanair and easyJet). If we would consider European international flights as domestic (in terms of distance intra-European flights are similar in nature to the domestic flights within the US or China), none of the European airlines would make it in the top 5 – based on the number of passengers flown, even though Ryanair comes very close to fifth position China Southern.

2008 Top 5 Airlines (number of Passengers on International travel)

International and Domestic – Passenger kilometres

When looking at passenger kilometres flown, it gives a slightly different view of the same results. Such a statistic shows us all airlines in terms of passenger kilometres flown (passengers*kilometers flown) and theoretically levels out the difference between the European International flights and the US Domestic flights for example – which produce similar numbers in terms of passenger kilometres. On the other hand, this gives a chance for airlines flying mostly longer routes with less passengers to move up the list. (E.g.: a Budapest-London flight is 1 passenger or rougly 1500 passenger kilometres, while a Paris-Rio de Janeiro flight is also counted as 1 passenger, but rougly 9400 passenger kilometres.)

Top 5 Airlines in 2008 - in terms of passenger kilometres for Domestic and International flights

It is interesting to see that this view is still ruled by the US airlines, and the only non-US in the list is the merged Air France – KLM group, taking the fourth position. We are missing Southwest Airlines from this table, as they do not fly long-haul and fly only a limited number of mid-haul international flights to Central America thus their average kilometers flown per passenger is much lower than those big American airlines that also fly long-haul routes. It is also a notable change that American Airlines (considered to be the largest airline company for years) is passed by the new Delta Airlines (merged with Northwest) by as much as 35%.

It will be interesting to see these numbers for 2009 in a few months – where Delta will most likely hold the number one spot for overall passenger numbers as well as passenger kilometers, but Lufthansa may move up a little bit if they start to publish their numbers together with Brussels Airlines and Austrian Airlines. We are also looking forward to the much talked about possible British Airways – Iberia tie up, which would produce an Air France – KLM like congolmerate that could fight for a top 5 position in terms of worldwide passenger kilometers – considering Iberia’s long flights between Europe and South America.

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

100% E-Ticketing – New Deadline: 31MAY2008

The new deadline set by IATA for member airlines to reach 100% Electronic Ticketing (ET) is an extension of five months. The well known and communicated deadline was originally 31DEC2007, but as the progress had not been exactly as planned earlier, this year’s AGM (Annual General Meeting) decided to add a “one-off” additional five months for airlines to comply with the requirement!

Decided also on the AGM back in 2004, IATA laid down the roadmap to completely switch to ET and to eliminate Paper Tickets from the world by the end of 2007. This left 3 and a half years for the airlines to comply with such a request, while some of the airlines at the time were already very well advanced in ET usage, but many of the members had not yet started their ET projects back then. The end of 2007 deadline was promoted by IATA, but it is very well known and accepted that the world’s leading and big airlines wanted to have IATA in front of them when pushing the smaller aviation companies to introduce ET. Why would they do it? Simply because the big savings from ET come when you have totally get away with Paper Tickets (no need to lease/buy and maintain the expensive printers, no need to buy expensive blank ticket stocks (TAT – the one that makes your fingers pink…) or ATB (magnetic stripe) coupons, etc.)

100% ET - Delayed (by balint01)

So did IATA back out from a badly set goal while defeated? I don’t think so!! I think they behaved just the right way! In all workshops, conferences, and meetings since 2004, the message to the member airlines was very clear: the original deadline will not be changed, period! As soon as there were no IATA personell around, basically all ET responsibles (from airlines, airports, ground handling companies and even system providers) looked at each other and said: 100% will not be reachable and gave a smile to each other… But we also all agreed that if we get up to 85-90% (which would be realistic) it would still generate huge savings and bigger customer satisfaction, so it’s worth working on it! And of course it was also clear that the major players on the market (AA, BA, CX, JL, QF, LH, AF/KL/NW, DL, UA etc.) will push the smaller ones and if you don’t jump on this bandwagon, you’ll lose business with these big airlines. Which is key to survival to most smaller sized carriers… So we all worked enthusiastically towards a goal that made us smile every once in a while, but we all took it seriously! The real goal was to reach as high of a percentage of ET’s as possible, and to get as close to 100% as possible.

And now the deadline is changed! Even though at first it may look like the airline industry has failed a deadline, in my opinion this is a realistic extension and beneficial for all! The large majority of the IATA airlines are now ET enabled (and most of them have become so, in the last 2-3 years since the original announcement was made)! Of course there are still some, for which these 5 months can make a difference and it’s good from the industry that they will wait for those that had a hard time convincing their top management, lobby for slots with system providers or match time slots with interline partners. I personally foresee a large progress in those extra 5 months in terms of ET percentage and usage, especially in the interline sales volumes and simply in the number of working interline ET connections!

(And let’s not forget that by the fact that it’s an extension of exactly 5 months (and not 6), the IATA Board and the CEO’s of the member airlines can officially conclude this project as a great success on the next AGM (June 2008) only a few days after the deadline! Which is a good occasion to officially close such a big industry-wide project and share some champagne! 🙂 )

By balint01

RFID usage at airlines or airports

RFID is a relatively new technology and not too many industries have adapted to it, but aviation – as always and early adaptor of new IT trends – has already invented some good ways to use this very cheap and useful technology.

What is RFID?

RFID means radio frequency identification. As in case of all radio frequency communication, RFID also requires a transmitter and a receiver. The communication is 2-ways, so the transmitter can be receiver and the receiver can be transmitter as well. RFID can be used best when there are numerous objects or people you would like to monitor and keep track of their location. RFID’s effective radius is low, it means that the objects or poeple need to be quite close to each other. For example you can keep track of goods in a warehouse or you can keep track of baggages, mail or people at an airport. These functions can be served with by the same system. There needs to be a central station that sends out and receives signal to and from small radio frequency chips built in either loyalty cards or bag tags. These chips can be easily implanted into such small cards and they are cheap as well, so it is perfect for mass use.

What is it good for?

The most typical areas where RFID is used in the avation industry is baggage and cargo tracking. RFID bag tags are included in IATA’s Simplifying the Business programme. For more information please click here.
The main advantages of RFID baggage tracking are the following:

  • you can easily organize loading
  • if someone misses the plane it’s easy to find and offload the baggage
  • if a baggage gets lost somewhere in the airport, you find it easily
  • you can track the status of a certain baggage: checked in, security checked, loaded, offloaded etc
  • you can easily find a certain baggage or cargo item in a warehouse or cargo base

Although it is not that commonly used and supported, we have already seen solutions for using RFID for CRM purposes. The following vision is not a vision at all. It was taken from real life.

  • The passenger holds a loyalty card containing RFID chip
  • Whenever he or she arrives at the airport, the chip gives radio signals to the central station that transmits the signal to the CRM or check-in system
  • The DCS (departure control system) checks the passenger in and he or she receives an SMS saying “you are checked in to flight XY. Your gate will be C21.”
  • If the passenger has a baggage, he or she can check it in at the bag drop off counter
  • If the passenger’s loyalty card makes it possible, he or she can walk in to the business lounge, where no registration will be needed as the CRM system will recognize the customer by the RFID signal.
  • If the passenger gets lost womewhere at the airport, there is no need for last calls, the gate agent can take a look at the monitor that shows where the passenger is and can send somebody to go and find him or her.
  • When the passenger boards, there is no need for a boarding card, the central receiver will send the status update to the DCS.

Can you imagine such an ease at the airport procedures? It is very beneficial both for the ground handler and the passenger. I hope will meet this technology very soon at many airports. Best practices can be viewed at Amsterdam, Schipol Airport and Tokyo, Narita International Airport.

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