ATPCO today announced a new industry solution Emergency flexibility for conditions on existing tickets (Emergency Flexibility). Created within the framework of IATA and A4A supply chain resolutions, and in collaboration with airlines, GDSs and channels, the new automated solution enables airlines to process the mounting travel changes arising due the COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions. The new solution will be adopted by the airline industry effective June 7.
With more than one million flights canceled globally in response to COVID-19-related travel restrictions and rapid changes in demand, airlines are seeing an extensive amount of previously issued tickets that need to be changed, sometimes more than once. To address this need airlines were seeking flexibility to allow longer ticket validity periods so they can relax restrictive terms on already-issued tickets. Previously only rule conditions that were in effect when the ticket was issued could be used on existing tickets. Airlines and travel agencies needed an automated way to apply current or new voluntary changes and refunds and communicate these changes to travelers.
Emergency Flexibility extends the functionality provided within the ATPCO industry platform, and the pricing and retailing automation standards that support it, ensuring the rapid and efficient implementation of flexible new rules for existing tickets across all channels. In addition to supporting the needs of airlines, GDSs, and agencies, Emergency Flexibility also ensures that travelers can better understand new policies that have been put in place and the associated benefits.
“The multitude of commercial policies and regulatory requirements across jurisdictions is enormous, making it challenging to get the most up-to-date information out to the industry and travelers in a timely and efficient manner,” said Thomas Gregorson, Chief Strategy Officer at ATPCO. “ATPCO exists to serve the airline industry – a role we take very seriously, especially in times of crisis – we quickly got to work and designed an automated solution to waive fees on tickets in emergency situations, like this current pandemic. It’s a win for the whole industry.”
“In these exceptional circumstances, there has been an increasing need for a consistent approach to ticketing changes for all players and across different channels,” said Hervé Prezet, Vice President of Industry & Expertise at Amadeus. “The solution that ATPCO has been able to create in a matter of weeks, and that Amadeus is enabling, will provide consistency in automated servicing for travel agents and airlines which will benefit the entire ecosystem.”
To date, over 60 airlines, including: Air France-KLM, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, and Singapore Airlines, have been involved with the Emergency Flexibility solution and all major GDSs, including Amadeus, Sabre, Travelport, and Travelsky are planning to go live with it within the next week. ATPCO encourages all airlines, channels, and GDSs that want to implement this automated feature to get in touch.
“We have been working diligently to provide our customers with flexibility in response to the challenge of COVID-19 and we recognize this has driven rapid change and additional complexity for our agency partners,” said Sara Reid, Managing Director Commercial Delivery & Development at Delta Air Lines. “Partnering with ATPCO and the GDSs is key to delivering an automated solution for our agencies, creating a consistent approach for airlines to implement new change policies for previously issued tickets.”
In April, ATPCO launched Reassurance UPAs – which is available at no cost to airlines and sales channels – that visually describes and showcases specific measures airlines are taking to protect travelers. This rich content currently covers 70% of the global flight schedule for over 100 airlines. ATPCO will continue to work closely with the industry to establish solutions that benefit the airline industry and travelers.
ATPCO is the world’s leading provider of pricing and retailing content, tools, and services to airlines, global distribution systems, travel agencies, and technology companies. With a focus on driving innovation, reducing complexity, and delivering network economics to the entire distribution ecosystem, ATPCO continues to develop new standards and technology solutions that are underpinned by its reliable airline pricing data that lies at the foundation of flight shopping. Owned by airlines, ATPCO content and standards ensure industry-wide consistency, including for NDC, NGS and dynamic pricing. Building off its 2018 acquisition of Routehappy, its retailing solutions are also setting the standard by which airlines differentiate their products using compelling rich content, and which channel partners are using to create informative, next-gen shopping displays.