While it's still too early in the development of IATA's One Order initiative to know exactly what impact it will have on travel agencies, Joelle Cuvelier, Amadeus' head of airline solutions for the Americas, predicts it will simplify processes surrounding airline ticketing.

"It's early days to be able to predict with accuracy what is really going to happen," Cuvelier said of One Order. "But I do see from my perspective that travel agencies ultimately will benefit."

One Order seeks to overhaul order-management systems and consolidate an airline passenger's purchases and personal information into a single record. That means the passenger name record (PNR), e-ticket and any electronic miscellaneous documents (EMDs), which record purchases of ancillary products such as seat assignments and baggage allowances, would be housed in a single record.

Beyond that, Cuvelier said, order management can get more complicated than a single PNR, e-ticket and EMDs. If, for example, a passenger is flying on an airline's codeshare partner, copies of appropriate records are made and kept in that partner's system, and multiple codeshares mean multiplying records.

"This is the situation we have today," she said. "It does work, but it has, over time, become increasingly complex."

One Order, Cuvelier said, "is a standard way of executing an airline travel order. What it does, really, is just simplify access and communication between the airline and all its partners," including travel advisors.

Cuvelier said the simplicity of One Order will benefit agencies in the long run. For example, when a passenger changes his or her trip, a number of changes have to occur on the back end with the reservation.

Between the PNR, e-ticket and EMDs, she said, "It's a lot of overhead, and travel agencies have developed processes around that. Once this complexity is no longer required, one can imagine that travel agencies will also benefit from these simplified capabilities and will also look at some of their internal processes that may [not be] required anymore. It's going to be a benefit for them, but all of this is really long-term."

Currently, Amadeus is working on One Order proofs of concept with airline partners. 

Once One Order starts to come to life (which Cuvelier said is likely several years away), Amadeus will work in a dual environment, supporting both One Order and the traditional process for dealing with PNRs, e-tickets and EMDs.

This will not be the first time Amadeus has run two separate systems in parallel. That's how it operated when electronic ticketing was introduced and again when EMDs were launched.

"It is really important for us that we don't disrupt the current flow and that we don't negatively impact the business of the airline as we proceed with our transformation," Cuvelier said.

An industry veteran of more than 30 years, Cuvelier predicted that One Order will be one of the "most important and profound changes" that airline systems have undergone since electronic ticketing.

"It really implies a complete redesign of the way airline systems are organized today," she said.

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