Amadeus reports it is first to market with the availability of IATA’s Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) capabilities for travel agencies and first to receive full IATA sign-off. All GDS providers must ensure the industry’s EMD standard is available to travel agencies in all of ARC (Airlines Reporting Corporation) and BSP (Billing & Settlement Plan) markets by the end of 2013, Amadeus said.
The EMD is the industry electronic messaging standard that enables airlines and travel agencies to more effectively share information relating to issuance, management, distribution and fulfillment of airline services. Amadeus says it is the first in the industry to be compliant with the full solution. It has replaced the current tool with the new electronic version that issues documents for standalone travel-related services such as lounge access and vouchers. Amadeus also reports it has enabled the collection of payment for a variety of services directly associated to flights, such as excess baggage and specific meals.
Amadeus’ EMD rollout for travel agencies is underway in Finland with the first travel agents set to go live in Q1 2011. An additional 20 markets, including ARC markets, will be functional during 2011, with a further 70 markets going live during 2012 and the remaining 70 IATA Billing & Settlement Plan (BSP) markets will be operational in 2013 in order to meet the industry target.
Amadeus notes that EMD is a key component of IATA’s e-Services drive, which eliminates paper processing from the industry — IATA estimates the EMD will save the airline industry $2.9 billion annually.
Amadeus has already announced the availability of its comprehensive EMD solution for airlines with Finnair, implemented June 1, which enables the airline to process EMDs through its direct sales channels. Amadeus’ market-by-market rollout of EMD functionality to travel agencies will enable airlines to distribute a wide range of products, including ancillary services, according to industry standards through the distribution channel, which continues to provide airlines with more than 60 percent of its revenue and provides the highest yield.
The adoption of the EMD standard for travel agencies reduces costs and enables automated reporting and accounting of ancillary service sales while delivering a single, consolidated and easy-to-understand electronic document to the traveler, which details the full range of services they have purchased, Amadeus says. The standard is essential to the effective selling of airline ancillary services such as extra legroom, in-flight meals and baggage fees. Recent research from IdeaWorks highlights ancillary services as a rapidly growing revenue driver for airlines with worldwide ancillary revenues growing 43 percent in 2009.
“Travel agencies will now have a single, standardized method to issue the sale of all airline services, fully integrated into their system, which will provide a more efficient way of keeping track of spending,” said Rudy Daniello, director of distribution product management at Amadeus.
Minna Tuorila, Commercial Director Corporate Travel, Suomen Matkatoimisto — Finland Travel Bureau, said: “The EMD is important for us because airlines are moving towards an unbundled proposition. We are seeking a cost-effective way to account for each individual service we sell, which fits within our existing workflow and improves automation in the back office. Amadeus’ EMD rollout will deliver just that.”