Firms vie to offer interline e-ticketing solution

As IATA's end of May deadline for e-ticketing nears, two companies which offer carriers an interline e-ticketing solution are pushing to expand their customer bases. French company APG in January launched its IET solution to rival that of Germany's Hahn Air, but IATA is urging both companies to focus harder on attracting larger airlines.

APG, which offers IET services through its agreement with Heli Air Monaco, had hoped to launch the product last October but was faced with delays. It is in the process of entering its e-tickets into the IATA billing and settlement plan, a process it aims to conclude in early February.

"I haven't seen any IATA BSP tickets issued by Heli Air Monaco, but they have made significant progress," says Bryan Wilson, IATA's e-ticketing director.

Hahn Air, which had a head start in launching, is a BSP member in 90 countries, according to its director of distribution solutions, Simon Riha. Hahn Air has signed up 73 IET partners, while APG has yet to expand beyond its launch customer, National Airways Cameroon. "We hope to have 200 airlines signed up in two years," says APG chief executive Sandrine de Saint Sauveur. "The problem we're facing is that we launched a little too late, so we have to act very rapidly."

Both APG and Hahn Air are focused on providing IET solutions to smaller carriers which are struggling to migrate existing paper interline agreements to IET, but Wilson says "they need to get more agreements with larger airlines". De Saint Sauveur says APG has "already contacted Air France and British Airways, and yes they do have an interest", but she adds that the decision process takes longer than with smaller carriers. Hahn Air counts SAS, Air India and LAN among its customers, but Riha concedes that "the really big airlines like Delta have enough resources to do ­everything themselves".

Wilson says that while Hahn Air and APG are the only two companies to offer IET solutions as a "commercial proposition", there are a number of IET-capable airlines that could offer the service themselves. "British Airways, for example, has a great capability but they're not interested in doing it commercially," he says. "There's money to be made from it, but there's also risk."

IATA is urging ­e-ticketing companies to focus harder on attracting larger airlines

Source: Airline Business