Ai Editorial: Doing away with paper-based business processes via ONE Order

First Published on 29th March, 2019

Ai Editorial: With ONE Order there will be no tickets. The concept of a single customer order record holds a lot of promise. The key to ONE Order system’s readiness lies in creating it for a truly ticketless environment, writes Ai’s Ritesh Gupta

 

Airlines are attempting to overcome issues associated with archaic processes and protocols. They tend to hamper the overall passenger experience. 

With ONE Order, the objective is to eradicate the existence of various booking, ticketing, delivery and accounting methods. According to IATA, the plan is to do away with paper-oriented methods deployed for delivery tracking and accounting purposes. Eventually there is going to be phasing out of the current booking (PNRs) and ticketing records (ETKTs and EMDs), and blending the same into a single retail and customer-focused Order.

The customer Order in the ORA’s (Offer Responsible Airline) OMS (Order Management System) remains the single source of truth throughout its lifetime. The ORA holds the customer’s payment until services are operated.

Progress

There are companies that have been working on pilots featuring their respective ONE Order systems and have also achieved IATA certification.

One of them is Dublin-based JR Technologies. The ONE Order solution is a collaboration of its New Distribution Capabilities (NDC) Retailing Platform utilizing Chicago, USA-based MIS Choice’s Airline Choice Departure Control System and Frankfurt, Germany-based Lufthansa Systems’ Sirax Revenue Accounting system to complete the passenger handling business cycle. The company recently achieved the highest IATA ONE Order certification.

Ryan Harris, Director at JR Technologies explained that his team had “very few conceptual problems with the ONE Order process”.

This is because the company’s offerings were developed with the NDC core philosophy of offer/ order management from the beginning. 

“Since we didn’t have the legacy systems that needed to be adapted to the ONE Order processes, we were able to focus on the data flow through the customer journey,” said Harris.

Referring to the role of partners, he mentioned that they “were in similar positions” since their core systems were already adapted to the ticketless environment, which for DCS and Revenue Accounting systems will likely be a major hurdle to overcome if that is not already the case. 

What does achieving highest IATA ONE Order Certification mean? “Achieving the highest level requires that the company be able to handle the entire passenger experience from sale, through to flight, and finally into the airline accounting systems, including any additional products or services that the passenger may purchase,” mentioned Harris.

“We should remember that ONE Order is essentially a ticketless environment that has been elevated to an always available, passenger-centric world.  Since our partners had also already overcome the challenge of working in the ticketless environment, we simply had to ensure that the real-time communication from all parties was available through the NDC and ONE Order standard messages,” shared Harris. He added, “The biggest challenges that we faced throughout the entire pilot process was more due to when we were doing the pilot.  The project that was presented at IATA GAPS in October 2018 was largely done in the summer of 2018, before IATA NDC 18.2, which contained the first “final” ONE Order messages, was released.  As a result, we were constantly giving feedback to the IATA standards teams on what we were seeing and some of the issues so that they could be resolved before 18.2 was final.”

Explaining how the company has focused on concepts such as delivery status and internal values in order to replace current paper based mechanisms used for delivery tracking and accounting purposes, he said, “The delivery and accounting concepts, from a business standpoint, are not actually new.  They’ve been around for years, we just know of it as “ticketless”.  What ONE Order is able to do is to take the concept of a ticketless carrier, expand it by eliminating the structural constraints of the PNR, and make it a standard for the industry.  For carriers that have never worked in a ticketless environment, this is a major change that requires substantial modifications to business and accounting processes, not to mention the technical development to support it.” 

“One of the biggest roadblocks with ticketless carriers has always been how to work with a ticket-based carrier in interline or codeshare relationships.  The traditional approach was to make the ticketless carrier issue tickets, which solved the problem, but brought significant restrictions to the ticketless carrier by now having to issue tickets and EMDs.  What ONE Order looks to do is take that other approach, remove the tickets from everyone, and at the same time, free the airlines from the constraints inherent in the legacy, paper-based business processes,” said Harris.

Enhanced capabilities

One of the biggest advantages that the industry gains through NDC and ONE Order adaptation is that the communication of all information transitions into a standard XML interface, as opposed to the cryptic EDIFACT or proprietary APIs used today. 

“With that transition, it opens the door to any system or provider that can generate or consume an XML message, which is basically any modern system developed in the past 10 years,” said Harris.

“That opening of the door to the airline systems, which rather has been closed to the general public, will allow new opportunities for open communication to and between airlines. New opportunity breeds innovation, which the travel industry in general, and the airline industry specifically, needs to have to offer a better product more efficiently.  I have had the chance to attend several of the IATA NDC Hackathon events over the years, and to see what people outside of the industry can come up with as industry solutions is exciting, and is only possible through the open-source nature of the NDC and ONE Order world.”

 

Hear from senior industry executives about NDC and ONE Order at this year’s Ancillary Merchandising Conference, scheduled to take place in London, UK (9-11 April, 2019).

For more info about Ancillary Merchandising Conference, click here

 

Follow Ai on Twitter: @Ai_Connects_Us

 

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