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
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
"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.