Air Italy has signed a $3.1 million USD, five-year deal with Sabre Airline Solutions, the global leader of software and services for the airline industry from planning to execution. The contract covers reservations, check-in, ticketing and online booking components of the SabreSonic Passenger Solutions suite of passenger management products.
It also comprises customer relationship, codeshare and fares management products, as well as an automated tool that will help streamline the collection of ticketing fees arising from itinerary changes and upgrades.
Air Italy’s investment in technology follows recent news that it had impressed Italian lenders sufficiently to secure EUR 30 million ($37.6 million USD) of capital expenditure funding.
The SabreSonic Ticket component will give Air Italy full electronic ticketing capabilities ahead of the IATA-mandated 2007 e-ticketing deadline, by which time paper tickets are due to be phased out completely.
Air Italy will use the SabreSonic Web online booking component to drive two Web sites - one for the general public and the other for its travel agency partners. These will display and sell Air Italy’s own products, as well as those of its partner airlines, hotels and car hire companies.
The Sabre AirPrice fares management system will allow the airline to manage its fares more tactically. The airline’s pricing analysts will use it to examine all market developments and data, including competitor fare changes, and make fare-based decisions quickly and effectively.
Air Italy is changing its business model from a charter airline to scheduled services and therefore intends to place more emphasis on effective customer relationship management (CRM). It will use Sabre Airline Solutions’ Customer Insight CRM database to ensure that customer profile data is collected, displayed and updated wherever the traveler comes into contact with the airline - be it through online booking, call centers or check-in. This will lead to more effective relationship development and direct marketing.
Air Italy’s decision to use the SabreSonic suite of products was due, in part, to the products’ integrated PNR (passenger name record) technology. The airline concluded that there was significant competitive advantage in the fact that reservations, inventory and departure control systems all use the same core data, regardless of when or where that information is updated.
Any PNR update made by one travel agent or airline staff member is instantly available to anyone looking at the PNR elsewhere in the system, resulting in the best possible service for every passenger at each stage of the booking and travel process.
“It goes almost without saying that we liked Sabre Airline Solutions’ technology,” said Air Italy CEO Captain Giuseppe Gentile. “But what is less obvious, unless one has previously undertaken a major IT implementation project, is the importance of a diligent migration process on the part of your supplier, as well as dedicated assistance from that organization before, during and afterwards. Sabre Airline Solutions’ European track record in both these areas is stellar, and helped differentiate them significantly.”
Another differentiation, according to Gentile, was the breadth of Sabre Airline Solutions’ range of operational and decision-support technology. “We are keen to use single suppliers wherever possible and we found that Sabre Airline Solutions is able to help us in every area of our business development - something few other IT suppliers could do,” he said.
“Air Italy is planning on significant growth in their scheduled operations in the increasingly competitive Italian market” said Murray Smyth, Sabre Airline Solutions’ senior vice-president for the EMEA region. “New generation, ‘open systems solutions’ such as the SabreSonic solutions, combined with selected services from our airline consulting group, will help Air Italy clearly establish the competitiveness of their brand, product and customer services.”
Airlines are increasingly turning to Sabre Airline Solutions for operational and decision-support technology above and beyond the traditional sales, marketing and distribution products from sister business and GDS operator, Sabre Travel Network.
More than 200 airlines use Sabre Airline Solutions’ broad portfolio of decision-support tools to increase revenues and improve operations. Customers include British Airways, KLM, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, United and Northwest Airlines. In Italy alone Sabre Airline Solutions’ customers include Alitalia, Air One, Alpi Eagles and now Air Italy.