Collaboration and passenger experience dominate day one of IATA’s WPS in San Diego

Ben Hunt

Group Communications Director, Amadeus IT Group

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Two key ideas dominated much of the discussion and debate on day one of IATA’s World Passenger Symposium in San Diego: collaboration and passenger experience.


IATA CEO and Director General Tony Tyler introduced the two ideas in his opening address that continued IATA’s celebration of 100 years of commercial aviation while looking forward to a successful and more profitable future.

“Aviation was built on collaboration,” Tyler said. “Every flight requires a choreography of cooperation involving airlines, airports, distribution and travel technology providers, travel sellers and air navigation service providers, to name but a few.”

Improving the passenger experiences

Tyler went on to describe howindustry collaboration– and in particular a key agreement with the Open Allies group – had allowed IATA and its members to make significant progress with the development of NDC XML industry standards, just one initiative heralding a potential revolution in the passenger experience. “From transforming the shopping experience, to empowering passengers to take control of their journey, to making real-time interaction between passengers and travel suppliers a reality. I hope you will agree that we are on the verge of delivering a revolution in the passenger experience.”

A panel examining aviation from “the lens of the customer” suggested airlines still had work to do to achieve this. Brian Terwilliger, the maker of the highly anticipated Aviation – The Invisible Highway movie which is to be released in 2015, described flying as “slower, less comfortable and less glamorous” than it may have been in the past also described it as “the fastest and safest (mode of travel) and more accessible to more people than any time in its history.”

Overall, the message from the panel seemed to be that the industry had significant room for improvement in offering a joined up service to its passengers.

One large element of that was examined in the first afternoon of a marathon day and a half session entitled, “A Revolution in Distribution.” A busy hall heard from a number of airlines and technology providers including Amadeus for whom Decius Valmorbida, Vice President of Distribution Marketing, outlined the company’s vision for a “global travel ecosystem” which would enable the entire industry to collaborate to unlock a potential $130bn in new revenues for airlines by 2020.

Technology is the pillar of success

Decius indicated that the revenue gap existed because the industry had not done a good enough job of marketing its products, and that the time had arrived to change that. He said the key pillars of a successful move to unlock the $130bn were great technology, openness to new business models and widespread collaboration in the industry.

He said that Amadeus would enable the development of a global travel ecosystem that would bring these elements together and he issued an invitation to the airlines present in San Diego to discuss collaboration with Amadeus.

“We’d like to ask you to come and see us and give us the opportunity to show you what is under the hood, and we have a different approach. We have state of the art technology and with the experience we have in the industry we believe we have what it takes to make it happen,” he said.

Have a look at the video below for a recap of day one.

Day one of IATA’s World Passenger Symposium


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