IATA has called upon aviation stakeholders to
work together to create greater value for customers across the
travel experience while enabling greater efficiency for industry
“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 Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director
General and CEO. Tyler made his comments in an address to the
World Passenger Symposium which opened in Abu Dhabi, United Arab
Emirates on Tuesday.
Tyler highlighted three priority areas for
cooperation to create a more seamless and more interactive modern
• Simplifying airport processes with Fast Travel
• Implementing a Checkpoint of the Future (CoF) for passenger
• And developing a New Distribution Capability in line
with modern retailing practices
Fast Travel: IATA
is working with industry stakeholders to implement self-service
options with its Fast Travel program. This gives passengers more
control over their airport experience in six key processes:
check-in, bag check, travel document scanning, boarding, flight
re-booking and baggage tracing.
“IATA’s Global Passenger Survey reveals
that 52% of travelers are eager to print out their own bag tags at
home and 77% would prefer to use a self-boarding gate at an
airport. Fast Travel responds to these and other consumer demands
for more control over their journey,” said Tyler. “Our 2020 vision
is for a fast, seamless curb to airside experience that is
predictable, repeatable, secure and globally consistent. An
important component of that vision is ubiquitous one-click access
to Wi-Fi at airports. This will enable travel services providers
to exchange data in real-time with passengers.” Such interaction
would also provide a channel to provide passengers with options to
add value to their journey as well as facilitating a smoother
process when there are delays or other irregularities.
CoF: The CoF
project will enable a walk-through security checkpoint experience
without stopping, removing items of clothing and liquids, or
taking computers out of bags.
“CoF will replace today’s
one-size-fits-all approach to screening with a model based on risk
assessment. By focusing resources where the need is greatest we
will make the system more secure and reduce the hassle for our
customers,” Tyler said.
According to IATA’s Global Passenger
Survey, queuing time is the most frequent complaint with security.
Key to achieving the goals of CoF is the use of
passenger information that is already required by many governments
for purposes of customs and immigration. This could be
supplemented with voluntary known traveler programs.
“Sharing information about passengers is a
sensitive subject, but our Passenger Survey shows that nearly
three out of four air travelers would be willing to share personal
information with governments to speed up security screening,”
CoF is moving forward in a staged approach. The
initial focus is on making today’s checkpoints more efficient
through such steps as introducing dedicated known traveler lanes,
which can increase efficiency by up to 30%. Trials of specific CoF
components are currently being carried out and Tyler urged
airports, security regulators and equipment providers to join
together to identify candidate airports for the first CoF trial in
Capability: Tyler also cited the need for a New
Distribution Capability (NDC) to enable the industry to offer more
options to customers and to reach them seamlessly regardless of
“The internet economy has fundamentally reshaped
the ways in which sellers and consumers interact. Customers expect
to be recognized when they shop online. And they are used to
receiving tailored offerings based on their past purchasing
behavior. Airlines are able to participate in this new model with
those customers purchasing directly from their websites. They can
recognize return visitors and make offers based on travel history,
loyalty status, credit card brand or other metric. And customers
have complete visibility of additional products and services on
offer,” said Tyler.
About 40% 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 travelers’ 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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