IATA tasks operators on greater efficiency, customer satisfaction

Posted: October 19, 2012 in travel & tourism

Global aviation monitoring body, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on aviation stakeholders to work together to create greater value for customers across the travel experience while enabling greater efficiency for industry participants.

IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Tony Tyler, made the comments in his address at the World Passenger Symposium which opened in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Wednesday.

IATA therefore moved for a collaborative approach to boost efficiency.

“Airlines expect to carry some 3 billion passengers in 2013. And that number will double by 2030. Connectivity is a critical component of modern economies. Serving that growing demand will require innovation. We need to understand what consumers expect and what they value enough to pay for. Aviation is team effort. And that is a challenge for all industry stakeholders. Travel agents, airports, air navigation service providers, regulators, manufacturers, ground service providers, global distribution systems (GDSs) and many others must work together to make each passenger journey as safe, secure, seamless and convenient as possible,” said Tyler.

The IATA chief highlighted three priority areas for cooperation to create a more seamless and more interactive modern travel experience, which include: Simplifying airport processes with Fast Travel; Implementing a Checkpoint of the Future (CoF) for passenger security; and developing a New Distribution Capability in line with modern retailing practices.

About 40 per cent of ticket sales by value come through airline websites. The rest is sold indirectly via travel agents using GDSs. As a result, it is impossible for the airline to tailor its offer to these customers. Furthermore, this model is focused only on finding the lowest ticket price which is commoditizing air travel even as airlines innovate their products.

“Airlines are trying to escape the commoditization trap through differentiation, and merchandizing. They are developing products and services, such as special meals, expedited boarding, roomier seats and access to airport lounges. But the travel agent sees only fare codes—F, J, Y and their various derivatives—which cannot fully describe options available. Customers expect more. The solution is the NDC powered by open XML standards. This will enable innovation in the way airline products are distributed. One key outcome will be closing of the gap between airlines and their customers so that customized offers can be made to travelers even through travel agents,” said Tyler.

IATA’s role is to lead the industry to adopt a new, modern infrastructure that will accommodate more choices for personalized travel offers, provide the foundation for the development of efficient tools for agents and lower the overall cost of distribution. To this end, IATA will propose a roadmap and business case for the NDC. “We expect to complete the Standards definition next year. Then competition and travellers’ needs will guide airlines, agents, system providers and new entrants with tremendous opportunities for innovation. Forty years after the birth of the current distribution paradigm, we have an opportunity for a revolution in airline retailing,” said Tyler.

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