IATA unveils online Travel Centre

As part of its drive to cut out inefficiencies in the airline industry, IATA is planning the launch an online Travel Centre that will enable passengers to check travel regulations before travelling to their destination, it was revealed at the EyeForTravel Distribution Conference in London.
Alan Murray Hayden, Product Manager, IATA, revealed that as more passengers are booking their travel online, fines for improper documentation are on the rise, since passengers are not receiving crucial travel documentation at the time of their booking.

There are currently an estimated $250 mn passenger fines per year for wrong documentation. This is due to a number of factors, including the absence of agent advice when booking online, passengers’ lack of regulation awareness and passengers reliance on incorrect general information which is accessible on the web.

The new IATA Travel Centre aims to improve the travel process by enabling airlines and travel agents to provide Passport, Visa and Health information to passengers as part of the booking process. The consumer website will receive approximately 50 travel updates per day.

The new service, which will be optional for airlines, is starting its pilot XML testing next month and will undergo a 4 month trial. Passengers will then be able to access the new service at IATA.org, or as a link on the website of travel partners.

According to Murray Hayden, IATA are looking to promote the service via online travel agency partners. He said airlines using the service on their websites would be their ultimate goal.

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“This is the first time we have exhibited at EyeForTravel but we were present as attendees last year. This year’s expanded event has been excellent as we have met with many potential partners who we look forward to working on the IATA Travel Centre with.” Says Murray Hayden.

The cost of the service is likely to be absorbed by the consumer rather than the travel supplier, but according to Murray Hayden the price should be minimal. The revenue structure has not yet been finalised.

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