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Paper documents to be phased out as EMD becomes airline industry standard

Joanna Thibault

Associate Director Airline IT Solutions, Ticketing and Finance, Amadeus IT Group

IATA is putting the final pieces in place to achieve the global Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) standard. Since January, all virtual Miscellaneous Charges Order (vMCO) documents in markets that use the Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) solution are phased out. Later on this year, Virtual Multi-Purpose Documents (VMPD) will also be gone, so it really is time for airlines to get ready. Both the airlines and the traveller will benefit as a result.

EMDShaping a sustainable future of travel is very important to us in everything we do. From actively giving back to the communities in which we operate to leveraging our technological know-how to support worthy causes – we believe that business sustainability in the long term requires a positive impact on society and the environment. That’s why we’ve supported the drive to make paper documents a thing of the past.

EMD Value

Right since its conceptual stages, we at Amadeus recognised the value EMD can bring to airlines and customers alike, which is why we have long supported the initiative. With revenue from ancillary services snowballing to a staggering $42.6 billion, a standard for electronic tracking of these services is crucial. We are very proud to be able to now say we clearly lead the way in this arena. More than 80 airlines are using the Amadeus EMD server at the beginning of April, which are around 60% of the entire EMD capable airlines worldwide. The 2nd ranked EMD solution provider has a customer base of just 30 airlines.

We all know that the cost of managing an electronic document is considerably lower than that of a paper document, but on top of that, airlines can improve their customer’s experience with EMD. Queuing at airport ticket counters to purchase optional services can be a thing of the past as the traveller can go straight to a self-service terminal to make a purchase.

We’ve clearly shown that it’s an important area for us. We are the first airline IT provider to allow our hosted carriers distribute through the 7 major GDSs (Amadeus, Sabre, Travelport, Travelsky, Abacus, Axess and Infini). EMD interlining is the next frontier. For this we are making special efforts to ensure our EMD interline solution can cater for every scenario. Last year we issued roughly 18 million EMDs, which is 60% of the entire market. Not only that, our travel agency partners are EMD compliant in 90% of BSP markets.


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