21st century airline technology: The future is now


I still remember that car I bought when I was in college. It was a small red car, hatchback, economical and comfortable. Had all the features I needed and a few luxuries, even a CD player and power windows. I made great memories on that car. But now my world has changed and my demands are different. I have a family, I’m a home owner, and my kids need to stay entertained in the car. I need a car equipped with the latest technology, such as navigation, memory seats, screens on the back seats and the latest security features to provide the most comfort, safety, cost-effectiveness and flexibility for me and my family.

Is it time for a new model…?

Airlines in North America face a similar situation: while their systems have served them well for many years, the dynamics of the new market and the rapidly changing demands of their customers require the latest modern technology platform. Airline travel is now facing a massive increase in data demands and interaction from the traveler, which coupled with the complexity of managing ancillaries and upgrades along the customer journey have exposed debilitating and risky ‘single points of failure’ that I believe are just a glimpse into the potential future. There is a clear need to invest and upgrade to a more robust and future proof IT environment. Just like my college car, TPF-based systems that once were adequate, don’t offer the capability and reliability needed to meet the demands of the airlines of the future. In addition, the rapidly rising average age and scarcity of Assembler programmers make the problem even more complicated. The young generation of technologists are not interested in learning or working with legacy programming languages in the age of rapid-cycle agile development and the world of mobile.

The key takeaway here: airline leaders can’t afford to stake their future and brand reputation on technology from the 60’s.

Amadeus offers the only full-service airline Passenger Service System (PSS) on a modern cloud enabled platform. Our Altéa Suite provides the ideal foundation for strategic growth, offering airlines the flexibility, scalability and richer functionality they need to keep up with the new age of travel’s demands. Our airline clients reap the benefits of partnering with us to innovate jointly on the foundation of our modern platform.

We have invested more than 15 years and billions of dollars – spending over $750 million in R&D just last year alone – to develop and continuously enhance our next-generation common distribution and PSS platform. And we have a long history of industry “firsts,” including the below described single PNR, as well as New Distribution Capabilities (NDC), Electronic Miscellaneous Documents (EMD), among others.

A full-service solution: fast, reliable & cost effective

Our modern platform allows airlines to develop and launch capabilities faster to market because our extensive rules engine is configurable by the airline.  This enables our airline customers to quickly and cost effectively individualize the technology to their own specific business model, taking control of their own growth strategy. Amadeus’ end-to-end solution helps avoid expensive technology customizations as well. And when changes are needed, our flexible technology allows us to work faster and more cost effectively. For example, during a recent benchmark we conducted, it became clear that a modern technology allows our airline customers to cut down the time to make changes to boarding pass configurations by over 95 percent compared to what airlines experience from other IT providers or in-house systems.

Happier customers, greater operational efficiency

Today, airlines are continually challenged to deliver products and services aimed at creating a seamless passenger experience. Our unique single Passenger Name Record (PNR) capability consolidates every customer touchpoint into an integrated view, providing comprehensive, real-time information on each passenger. Regardless of how travel was booked and by whom – airline, airline partner or an Amadeus travel agent – the passenger can be serviced seamlessly by anyone at any point in the journey. Our technology isn’t structured around individual airline partitions, which create copies of the passenger data for use by the reservations function, the airport function, as well as the airline’s marketing and operating partners and travel agencies. This second approach is unnecessarily complex and expensive and is based on an error-prone process of synching up multiple versions of passenger data for the same trip and passenger.  The Amadeus approach, however, is not only efficient and straightforward but it also allows airlines to implement a strong, customer-centric strategy and increases their ability to upsell. And when it comes to managing complex third-party alliances, the benefits of our single PNR shines through here as well. Today, Amadeus has the highest alliance penetration in the industry: 79 percent at Oneworld, 67 percent at Star Alliance and 55 percent at Skyteam.

As airline needs evolve, so does Amadeus

Amadeus boards more than 1.3 billion passengers per year and generates over 500 million air bookings. As our airline customers’ needs and expectations have evolved, so has Amadeus. We strive to enhance the traveler experience, aware that each customer touchpoint provides an opportunity for an airline to build its brand value. And we’re still on the move, constantly innovating with an ambition toward providing state-of-the-art IT that enables our customers to deliver on their objectives – increasing efficiency, optimizing costs and growing revenue. We invite you to fly into the future with us by your side, because with Amadeus’ modern platform, the future is now.

One comment

  1. Well, you say:
    There is a clear need to invest and upgrade to a more robust and future proof IT environment. Just like my college car, TPF-based systems that once were adequate, don’t offer the capability and reliability needed to meet the demands of the airlines of the future. In addition, the rapidly rising average age and scarcity of Assembler programmers make the problem even more complicated.

    I agree here only to 50%. Yes, correct IT environments of the future should meet new customer requirements using different access methods like mobile or webservices or using capabilities of cognitive computing or big data solutions. TPF was never designed for such purposes. TPF is built for reliability, speed and as the three letters tell us: For millions of transactions. Of course IT solutions to handle transactions can be built using a distributed and commodity based approach. But is such an approach more reliable ?

    Wouldn’t it be a better to choose a fit-for-purpose approach, rely on the strengths of TPF and buildthe new generation IT systems around it ?

    Have you ever tried to built a 32-way clustered DB active/active system providing adequate response time based on a distributed/commodity approach ?

    Do you think the complexity and reliability of a distributed IT architecture improves by just adding HW components or partitioning DBs, to address growth ?

    BTW: z/TPF programming languages are not limited to Assembler. (e.g C++ or Java among others are supported). In addition TPF application programs to interface with NoSQL DBs like MySQL or MongoDB are supported.

    So might be – before arguing for or against TPF – people should bring their 10-years old TPF 4.1 based skill up-to-date.

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