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Issue 03: Thursday 31 October 2019


2nd Airline Industry Retailing (AIR) Symposium


October 29 - October 31, 2019 | Bangkok, Thailand

Being prepared to unlearn


New Distribution Capability (NDC) offers an opportunity for airlines, travel management companies (TMCs) and online travel agents (OTAs) to embrace technology, innovation and to unlearn the past. Making the most of this requires good faith and willingness to adapt. Yesterday’s session looked at how NDC shapes up in terms of aggregation, with panels featuring representatives from global distribution systems (GDS) and start-ups—all eager to reassure airlines that change is not to be feared, but rather to be looked upon as a great opportunity. The GDS panel, moderated by Dave McEwen, Director, Industry Architecture at IATA, said that in an NDC environment, aggregation will normalize a range of content in the same place using different sources, in turn deconstructing and presenting to the buyer—corporate or otherwise—in a valuable and understandable way. They were unanimous that the journey to NDC is a slow road, but Ian Heywood, Global Head of Product and Marketing, Travelport, said that with the expertise and willingness of experimentation, GDS can make a significant breakthrough soon. “There is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “It’s finding a balance between disruption and innovation, but not going backwards,” added Emma Wilson, Vice President Marketing, Sabre. McEwen asked whether aggregation of NDC could commoditize the pricing model in general,

Day 02 highlights 30 October, 2019


“It’s finding the balance between disruption and innovation” Emma Wilson, Vice President Marketing, Sabre

but the four panelists quashed such fears and added that airlines, TMCs and OTAs would be able to use the tools to offer more specialized products and ensure differentiation. In response, the start-ups panel, moderated by IATA’s Head, Implementation Industry Distribution Programs Shaunelle Harris Drake, said they are entering the market to help airlines “simplify their offering” and grow the business. Airlines need to make decisions quicker, and embrace change and new technologies, the panelists urged. “Don’t look at the state we are in now,” said Steve Domin, CEO and Co-Founder, Duffel. “Try something new.” airlines.iata.org

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Thursday 31 October 2019: Issue 03

One order, one future “How we sell our product is mindlessly complicated,” said United Airlines Managing Director, Customer Technology Soumit Nandi, during yesterday’s panel discussions on order management and ONE Order. Nandi made it clear that the carrier is an enthusiastic participant in the ONE Order initiative that aims to replace e-tickets, PNRs and EMDs with a single customer-focused order. Christian Popp, Head of Distribution and Revenue Management Strategy and Business, Lufthansa Group, is also a strong advocate for ONE Order. He said that Lufthansa has identified three key benefit drivers: From the passenger perspective, ONE Order will simplify the customer journey and make it seamless, with an amplified choice of products and services. On the airline side, it will deliver process efficiencies and enable airlines to introduce “de-specialized” IT

A new way of working: Order confirmation shows Order ID and Wi-Fi access code

solutions. Finally, there is a revenue benefit. “We know with ONE Order we can fully leverage NDC capabilities,” he said. Nandi, meanwhile, noted that the existing processes also create a lot of complexity for the airline’s employees, today and in future, and, “We can’t scale the industry like this.” Both Lufthansa and United have conducted successful ONE Order pilots, with Lufthansa transporting 200 passengers on ONE Order records according to Popp. United’s pilot involved five travelers. According to Nandi, it covered a domestic flight that was shopped and booked on United.com. The pilot did not involve PNRs, tickets, EMDs, bag check or revenue accounting . The pilot also included a local tour booked through the airline. “We tracked its fulfillment,” Nandi said. While the pilot was successful, he also highlighted a challenge needing to be addressed: “We could not make bag check-in work.” Despite strong enthusiasm for ONE Order, panelists were not ready to predict a timeline for implementation. “It will take a while,” Popp said. “We need a transition, not a big bang,” agreed Stephane Lecourtois, Amadeus’ Director, Airlines Solutions, NDC & Order Management. “One of the things we have to figure out is settlement, especially as we bring in outside partners,” Nandi pointed out. Nevertheless, there was agreement that stakeholders are broadly aligned on the need to move towards ONE Order and with less friction than NDC generated when it first was introduced. “Unlike NDC, it was a lot easier to get people to buy into ONE Order,” said Bryan Koh, Divisional Vice President E-Commerce and Distribution, Singapore Airlines. airlines.iata.org


Issue 03: Thursday 31 October 2019

Networking Dinner



Thursday 31 October 2019: Issue 03

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Issue 03: Thursday 31 October 2019 Digital transformation: The AIR ThinkTank session explained how Project Lemonade can help in irregular operations


Tackling pain points in shopping and service delivery

Project Lemonade has a vision of offering seamless rebooking for airline passengers during irregular operations airlines.iata.org

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced the availability of the 2019 AIR Think Tank white paper, which has a vision to “guide the industry to transform into true retailers.� Launched in 2018, the AIR Think Tank is composed of IATA airlines, Strategic Partners and supporting organizations. The Air Think Tank kicks off each January with four face-to-face meetings during the year, with the intent to deliver the white paper at AIRS. This year, the Think Tank addressed three nagging areas around shopping and service delivery affecting customers, airlines and other stakeholders. Project Lemonade has a vision of offering seamless rebooking for passengers during irregular operations. This could be achieved by taking advantage of new capabilities offered by implementation of the NDC and ONE Order standards.

Project Robot addresses some of the challenges of high look-to-book ratios (which can be above 10,000 to 1 in the case of metasearch and Online Travel Agents). The project shows how these ratios can be made more manageable by decoupling the offer request from the creation. Project TrulyMe focuses on how customers can centralize this contact information and travel preferences through a data standard that allows the customer to decide which travel supplier to share information with, in one click. This is achieved through distributed ledger technology that ensures the traveler remains in charge of their personal data. Each project is discussed in detail. In addition, proofs of concept have been developed for each, and was presented yesterday at AIRS. Download the AIR Think Tank White Paper

Thursday 31 October 2019: Issue 03

“A strong, efficient booking process is better for our employees—we want them to be focused on doing the awesome jobs that they do” Diane Lundeen Smith, Global Travel Sourcing Manager, Microsoft

Making booking frictionless Travelers want a seamless experience during the travel plan, from initial search right through to additionals toward the end of the booking process. That was the consensus from a panel on retailing from a consumer viewpoint, moderated by Caroline Strachan, Festive Road Managing Partner. Prashanth Kuchibhotla, Global Airline Program Manager at McKinsey, said that employees at the global consultancy “don’t have the time” to search around for the best offering, and in most cases the lack of transparency from airlines means many are unsure what that best offer even is. “Transparency of pricing and knowing that you’re getting a lower rate than the public is important,” he said. “Our guys are busy, I don’t want them to spend 15 minutes trying to book a flight. We place a very high value on a person’s time and would prefer that an expert is able to do [the booking process] with the right tools.” Microsoft’s Global Travel Sourcing Manager Diane Lundeen Smith concurred, and said that

corporates and airlines can be more creative in negotiating what is on offer such as lounge access and other additionals, but they need to be sold together, she added. “There is value to lounge access, priority booking, etc,” agreed Kuchibhotla. “But it needs to be done reliably and quickly, even remotely —as businesspeople, we are on the road a lot.” In terms of leisure travel, Whey Han Tan, KAYAK’s Regional Director, APAC said “full transparency” during the booking process is vital. He added that although payment processes have improved, the likes of cancellation fees could be better displayed for the consumer. “There’s no silver bullet,” he said. “But the industry is moving in the right direction, .” Lundeen Smith has faith too, that the industry “will change to meet the needs of our travelers”, echoing Kuchibhotla’s thoughts on employees. “A strong, efficient booking process is better for our people,” she said. “We want them focused on the awesome jobs that they do.”


PayPal joins IATA Financial Gateway IATA’s Aleks Popovich and PayPal’s Soma Ramasamy sign an agreement under which PayPal, which has some 300 million users including over 100 airlines, will join the IATA Financial Gateway (IFG). The deal will allow PayPal to expose its services to all airlines in the IFG. Airlines can access PayPal through the IFG without requiring further integration, reducing the complexity of connecting to payment systems and simplifying the global payment process. airlines.iata.org

Issue 03: Thursday 31 October 2019

Thank you to our key supporters and all of our generous sponsors HOST AIRLINE









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IATA AIRS, October 31  

Daily newsletter from IATA’s Airline Industry Retailing Symposium in Bangkok, Thailand.

IATA AIRS, October 31  

Daily newsletter from IATA’s Airline Industry Retailing Symposium in Bangkok, Thailand.

Profile for redactive

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