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Embrace the New, Transform Processes, and Enrich Passenger Experience


IATA’s ONE Order initiative ensures gradual disappearance of multiple reference IDs in favor of one single order number. The passengers no longer will have to juggle between different reference numbers and documents in their journey. A common order number will enhance passenger experience and take away the hassles of travel. Additionally, airlines will be able to refine operations and collaborate effectively with their partners. With ONE Order implementation, there will be easier exchange of information and revenue reconciliations.

Seamless Experience: Dream of a Traveler and Aspiration of an Airline

PNR, e-ticket, Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD), cab confirmation ID, hotel booking and so on, sounds like a maze of reference IDs. Hassled passengers and inconvenienced airline staff is a common sight. Over and above, there are challenges with exchange of information and reconciliation of revenue. Any change or disruption in travel plans may leave the systems (of airlines and their associates) topsy-turvy. Eventually, there goes the thought of seamless delivery of services to passengers.

Imagine a world of no confusion—faster check in, seamless alterat]ions in bookings, availability of right meals, quick baggage tracking, on-time cab pick-up and drop exactly to the hotel where you are booked.

The below diagram depicts the factors that are changing at the marketplace causing businesses to change the way they work. These are also critical drivers that are forcing IT vendors to move to Next-Gen Application Outsourcing.This imagination is soon to turn into reality. Airport check-in personnel, finance and accounting systems, cab driver and the hotel receptionist—all will recognize the passenger by a common reference number. There will be quick and easy exchange of information and no more extensive revenue reconciliations. Delighted passenger, seamless collaboration with alliance partners and simplified process will be the order of the day.

Sounds unbelievable? IATA’s resolution 797 introducing ONE Order is to accomplish just that. Extensive collaboration of airline domain experts, technology experts, and travel management stakeholders would be required to implement ONE Order. It will allow airlines to replace redundant and age-old processes with advanced and efficient ones.

After successful implementation, air passengers can look forward to an enjoyable travelling experience and airlines can simplify operations.

ONE Order to End Travel Woes

Steep rise in prices of jet fuel (in year 2008) created margin pressures on various airlines. Sale of ancillaries became an important source of airline revenue. In fact, airlines could book profits only through the sale of ancillaries. Consequently, today, each element of a travel experience is sold independently

Observing the change in trend, in 2012, IATA announced introduction of resolution 787 supporting the NDC program. With NDC, airlines can innovatively market, distribute, and sell their products. Introduction of NDC led to a realization that airlines need to transform their order management system to derive full benefits. Therefore, ONE Order standards were introduced in year 2015.

IATA defines ONE Order as “An initiative to replace the multiple and rigid booking, ticketing, delivery, and accounting methods with one single and flexible order management process. It leverages the data communications advances made possible by implementation of the New Distribution Capability.”


Single Reference ID for Airlines and Associates

ONE Order is a project running under Simplifying the Business (StB) program of IATA. It is conceptualized to drive service delivery and accounting with order items and fulfillment control status across the travel cycle. The project shall facilitate improved customer servicing with simpler interactions between the Offer Responsible Airline (ORA), Participating Offer Airlines (POA), passenger(s), service providers, with a common reference.

ONE Order Impact

Airline systems

Multiple unique IDs such as PNR, EMD, and e-Ticket number are generated within airline systems for every element of an itinerary. Alternations in data ideally should trigger an update in the system of the associated service providers. Unique IDs in one system need to be mapped with identifier of the alliance partners’ systems. For example, check-in information with details of special meals must be shared with the airline caterer. Similarly, no show information has to be shared with the cab service providers. After check-in, passenger status gets updated as checked-in and passenger’s baggage is accepted. Correspondingly, Baggage Handling System (BHS) is updated and upon Flight Close (FC), a passenger reconciliation list is prepared.

After introduction of ONE Order, a common unique Order ID would be generated and shared with all the stakeholders: airline, ground handling staff, airline caterer, cab services provider, hotel reservation desk, and so on. With ONE Order, airlines will be able to consolidate multiple references into a common reference. It will help airlines to streamline their reservation management and financial processes while allowing faster processing and better management of operations.

Revenue Integrity

Offers are created on a real-time basis, therefore, maintaining bilateral agreement (in cases wherein each segment of passenger’s journey is served by different airlines) with details of charges for each segment will not be needed. Based on the current scenario, supporting airline will generate and quote a ticket price for its respective segment. Hotel and cab services will provide their own fare quote. The Offer Responsible Airline, along with a quote for its own segment, will be responsible for collection. ONE Order will ensure transfer of revenue share of each entity upon delivery of service.

Exchange of Data across Systems

Exchange of information with relevant entities is important on any refreshed data in Order IDs. Cancellation of flight will lead to cancellation of passenger booking in the system. Correspondingly, the flight caterer, cab service providers, hotel reservation desk will be notified. The available slots with cab services, room inventory at hotels would be utilized accordingly. With common Order IDs appearing in the systems of all the partners, exchange of information will be accurate and faster.

Collaboration of LCCs with network carriers

All airlines (whether a network carrier or LCC) will follow a common booking process. Currently, LCCs generate a PNR number that acts as a proof of booking, payment, and eligibility to fly. However, in the case of network carriers, PNR, as well as e-ticket numbers, are generated. Since revenue reconciliation happens based one-ticket, therefore, LCC and network carriers are unable to collaborate and offer a complete travel solution.

After the implementation of ONE Order, collaboration amongst LCCs and network carriers will become easier due to the implementation of a common standard process for LCCs as well as network carriers. Order ID will serve as proof of booking, payment, and entitlement to travel. Airlines will deliver services effectively and passengers will receive an end-to-end solution for their travel requests.

Passenger Experience

Studies indicate that travelers undergo positive and negative emotional extremes during the course of their journey. Emotional extremes are due to varied reasons. These include check-in scenarios involving the assignment of the appropriate seat with extra leg space, extra baggage allowance, or during flight flyers are anxious about the delivery of requested meal and other services. On arrival, passengers are anxious about baggage collection and the availability of cabs to reach their destination on time.

With ONE Order, services would be delivered as requested due to efficient exchange of information amongst airline crew, caterers, cab services, hotels, and so on. Travel agents will be able to follow singular process to service passengers for different products from various airlines and other agencies, thereby improving the efficiency of reservation staff. Juggling between multiple reference numbers and documents would be eliminated. The negative emotional extremes that passengers undergo during travel will also be handled better.

Challenges in Adoption of ONE Order Standards

Adoption of ONE Order will require extensive overhauling of systems. Currently, IATA is in the stage of setting up ONE Order standards. It is believed that airlines would be able to adopt ONE Order post year 2019. Following are a set of challenges identified before carrying out ONE Order implementation:

  • Cooperation from all stakeholders to adopt, appropriately execute, and benefit from ONE Order.
  • The mechanism to manage group bookings, multi-passenger booking, cancellation, and alteration in the itinerary.
  • Management of bulk ticket sales to travel agents.
  • The mechanism for management of split booking.

Implementing ONE Order

A structured approach to adopt ONE Order can bring about a positive transformation in the airline operations. Although the core concept was in use by many airlines, the involvement of IATA will ensure standardization across the industry.

The implementation process is likely to be executed in phases, involving participation from airlines as well as associates.

In Phase I, the airline reservation system would be upgraded to generate Super PNRs. For ease of replacement, the format of Super PNR will be the same as the format for ONE Order. Alliance partners can, in turn, fetch Super PNR from the airline database, and data within the systems of alliance partners will be mapped to Super PNR. Any communication between airlines and alliance partners will happen in the context of Super PNR.

Phase II will be dedicated to replacement of airline PNRs with Super PNRs. The internal PNR generation process of airlines will cease to exist. All booking data would be mapped to Super PNRs.

During Phase III, Super PNR will replace e-tickets in the ticketing system. Airline systems will generate a single unique ID for booking tickets, confirmation of payments, and eligibility to fly. On-hold PNR status at the system level would be handled with an internal flagging mechanism. Passengers with on-hold status would not be allowed to fly. Simultaneously, EMD is going to be replaced with a Super PNR.

Upon three-phased implementation, a single, unique ID (Super PNR) would be generated in the airline systems that would be shared across all alliances.

In the final phase, Super PNRs would be replaced with ONE Order. IATA could possibly allocate a range of Order IDs to each airline adopting ONE Order. At the time of booking, the reservation system will fetch the ID from the range of IDs allocated for a specific airline. Replacement of data will ensure a single source of Order IDs for all airlines compliant with ONE Order. The Order ID will be shared across travel agents, airlines, cabs, hotels, caterers, ground handlers, and so on. On implementing the final phase, airlines would be considered ONE Order compliant.

In the final phase, Super PNRs would be replaced with ONE Order. IATA could possibly allocate a range of Order IDs to each airline adopting ONE Order. At the time of booking, the reservation system will fetch the ID from the range of IDs allocated for a specific airline. Replacement of data will ensure a single source of Order IDs for all airlines compliant with ONE Order. The Order ID will be shared across travel agents, airlines, cabs, hotels, caterers, ground handlers, and so on. On implementing the final phase, airlines would be considered ONE Order compliant.


Four-Step ONE Order Implementation

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The Coforge Thought Board:

Embrace the New, Transform Processes, and Enrich Passenger Experience

Stepping up to Finer Processes

Multiple entities collaborate to deliver desired travel experiences to passengers. This leads to complexities in providing services as assured. Every entity has its own process to identify the traveler and diversity in processes often leads to error in delivery. Other native challenges are interlining settlement of revenue, exchange of information on alterations in travel plans, and so on.

ONE Order resolution will resolve current day industry challenges. Systems and processes will be standardized and simplified to establish a better connection with passengers, collaborate effectively with partners, and set up efficient technology systems. It is an attempt to overcome airline industry challenges from all possible aspects—Systems, People, Processes, and Partners.

The exchange of information will be smooth and free from manual interventions. Legacy formats and corresponding messages will evolve into flexible XML standards and JSON messaging. The systems will interact and exchange information based on Order IDs. Passengers will be booked for as many segments as required (as opposed to the current cap of sixteen coupons). Alternations in details of passenger data will be convenient.

Current day reconciliation processes for revenue settlement will no longer be relevant. Order ID shared amongst all those involved in the travel offer will ensure revenue integrity. After delivery of services by an interline partner, a common order ID will allow for a quick and easy transfer of revenue to the respective service provider.

There is no alternate way of achieving passenger loyalty than by fulfilling their dream of a hassle-free journey. Coforge is focused on aligning itself with IATA’s vision for the airline industry. Our partnership with IATA enables us to obtain reliable information first-hand and remain updated by attending meetings, training, and exhibitions at worldwide events. Our two-decade-long domain experience of working with multiple airlines can help align airline processes as envisioned and proposed by IATA.

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