Sabre Travel Network and Sabre Airline Solutions have issued electronic ticketing updates for their businesses showing that eighty percent of all tickets issued worldwide through the Sabre GDS are now electronic.122 airlines offer e-ticketing for Sabre-connected travel agencies. Meanwhile, 57 airlines are now using the SabreSonic Ticket interline e-ticket (IET) ‘hub’ to facilitate e-ticketing with partner carriers.
IATA’s ‘Simplifying the Business’ strategy calls for 100 percent e-ticketing by the end of 2007. Collectively, Sabre Travel Network airline customers broke through the 80 percent barrier in March, meaning that now only one in five tickets issued through the Sabre GDS is paper.
South African Airways, PIA, Gulf Air, Air Malta, Cyprus Airways, Malev Hungarian Airlines, Air Europa, Portugalia and SpanAir have become the latest carriers to implement e-ticketing through the Sabre GDS. Sabre Travel Network has now released e-ticketing in 72 countries, including 29 in the EMEA area. Cyprus, Bahrain, Oman,Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Lebanon and Egypt are the latest additions.
“The travel agents I’ve spoken to are completely supportive of the full adoption of e-ticketing,” said Dean Bibb, Sabre Travel Network’s European vice-president of supplier relations and joint ventures. “Part of the reason we’ve broken through the 80 percent barrier is because our agency customers have seized on the e-ticketing capability of every new airline we’ve implemented.”
Sabre Airline Solutions has an e-ticketing enabling product for airlines called SabreSonic Ticket. This is part of the ‘new generation’ SabreSonic Passenger Solutions and is based on ‘open’ technology that allows communication with any airline’s own IT system. It lets an airline distribute electronic tickets both through its own sales channels and through travel agencies, check in passengers with electronic tickets, and issue interline electronic tickets (IETs).
Sabre Airline Solutions now has 57 airlines connected to its SabreSonic Ticket IET ‘hub’, allowing each to issue e-tickets in conjunction with other participating carriers without having to create bilateral agreements and a special connection. IET hub-connected carriers include British Airways, KLM, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, American Airlines,United, US Airways and Northwest Airlines.
Any airline can use the IET hub, regardless of where its reservation system is hosted. The business also recently announced a technical development with Worldspan, giving carriers who use the IET hub a single connection to those who use the Worldspan hub. This arrangement eliminates the need for complex, distinct communication ‘layers’ between airlines that use the two hubs.
Sabre Airline Solutions currently ‘hosts’ the reservation systems of over 100 airlines around the world, including Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeroflot, American Airlines, Gulf Air, Jet Airways, Pakistan International Airlines and Southwest Airlines. Nearly 50 (48) carriers are using SabreSonic Ticket to issue e-tickets through their own sales channels. Nearly 40 (37) are using the product to issue e-tickets through the travel agency channel, via GDSs.
“It’s highly unlikely that the IATA 2007 deadline for the complete withdrawal of paper ticketing will be met entirely,” said Nejib Ben-Khedher, president and managing partner of the aviation consulting practice at Sabre Airline Solutions. “However, the figures we are releasing today show an unstoppable momentum, and indicate that carriers that sell most of the world’s airline tickets will be compliant by the due date.”
Ben-Khedher said the technology was available to help carriers of any size switch to e-ticketing quickly and relatively inexpensively.
“It’s not a huge exercise - developments such as SabreSonicTicket have smoothed the process significantly and will take care of the e-ticketing needs of any carrier, regardless of size and where the airline’s reservations system is actually hosted.”