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How to become a ‘Payment Master’ in the airline industry

Celia Pereiro

Head of Payments, Amadeus IT Group

Despite the growth of complexity in payments over the past 5 – 10 years, the fundamentals remain the same in the airline industry. This afternoon, I will be reflecting on some of these fundamentals at IATA’s World Financial Symposium during the panel discussion ‘How to Become a Payment Master’. I think there’s plenty of room for airlines to improve their performance by becoming ‘payment masters’ themselves.

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Historically, Payments has been driven out of the e-commerce departments but really successful airlines are those which are bringing in all of the stakeholders from their organisation to develop a holistic Payments approach.

The next step is to develop a Payment strategy – there are three key questions to keep in mind when doing this:

How can payments help grow my top line?

An optimized payment strategy can help airlines acquire new customers by offering different methods of payment as well as access to new markets by connecting to more local banks. Use of fraud management technology can simultaneously protect airlines when entering a high-risk market. At the same time, customer experience will improve and additional revenue will be generated with Dynamic Currency Conversion.

How can my payments help grow my bottom line?

Payments can represent a significant cost for airlines with the average credit card costs at 2% according to IATA. Providing acquiring banks with more data enables them to differentiate between secure and non-secure transactions, thus minimising merchant costs.

How can I streamline my payment processes?

Up to 4% of an airline’s revenue can require manual intervention to ensure it gets into the airline account - automating that process is more efficient and accurate. Fraud management can be a bit of a drain on airline resources, but automating the process so that the review is conducted before the ticket is issued saves time and allows airlines to put their resources to better use.

These are just a few of the questions airlines need to ask themselves in order to become ‘payment masters’.