How flexible are the airlines booking systems available for air travellers to choose services (offers) they will want whilst booking for flights?
At Radisson Blu Lagos Ikeja (Tuesday, 11th September, 2018), Aviators Africa hosted a group of aviation executives, mostly from airlines, across West Africa to a breakfast meeting tagged, “Airline Merchandizing – The industry trend”.
The discussion centred on ways airlines could maximize profit and as well increase value chain through implementation of flight booking system that gives air travellers flexibility to choose offer they would love during their trips.
The keynote speaker, Manish Shrivastava, the co-founder of travel commerce solutions, Switzerland, presented the executives to New Distribution Capability (NDC) as the new International Air Transport Association (IATA) industry standard for messaging, that allows airlines to communicate offers directly to distribution partners.
Manish started his presentation by first defining what an offer is in the context of NDC would as, “the presentation of a product or service’s details, along with its price and conditions, to a prospective customer who can then choose to accept or reject it”.
Today, airlines prepare their flight schedule and publish it via a 3rd party. Alongside this, they prepare sets of fares for the Reservation Booking Designator (RBD) and file them to another third party service provider, Airline Tariff Publishing Company (ATPCO). Together with real time seat availability, this published data is then used to prepare an offer, Manish added.
The offer may include extras on top of the flight itself, such as additional bags, meals or lounge access.
So, when a potential passenger makes a request to the airline, many IT systems work together to create an offer, or set of offers. However, in case of the request via Travel Agent using a Global Distribution System (GDS), such offers are prepared by the GDS and not the airline. It’s currently reasonably easy for airlines to create offers on their own websites, but much more difficult to share them with other airlines or travel agents.
If IATA NDC standards are implemented by an airline, detailed offers with prices and offer conditions can be easily prepared by the airline and the final product can be distributed to all partners for a consistent product offering, Manish concluded.
Also speaking at the event is IATA Regional Director for Member and External Relations, Adefunke Adeyemi, ably represented by Taiwo Peters, Manager, Member and External Relations Africa, who gave an insight on IATA NDC and One Order.
Toni Ukachukwu, the CEO of Aviators Africa, on behalf of his team, gave the vote of thanks to the airlines chief present at the event, and the keynote speaker, Manish Shrivastava. He gave special thanks to Radisson Blu Lagos, Ikeja for sponsoring the breakfast meeting.
“Series of events aimed at deepening the growth and development of aviation industry in Nigeria and Africa will be coming from Aviators Africa,” he added.
The meeting came to a close with networking session among the attendees.