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Introduction to airline reservation systems
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Introduction to airline reservation systems


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  • Transcript

    • 1. Introduction March 2009 Airline reservation systems
    • 2. Agenda
      • Key airline terms
      • Introduction to Computerized Reservation
      • Overview of Global Distribution Systems
    • 3. Key airline terms
    • 4. Important terms
      • Aircraft : A vehicle capable of air transport, such as an airplane, a helicopter, etc.
      • Airline : A company that provides air transport services for passengers or freight under license from a recognized public authority. Also known as Carrier in some geographies
      • Scheduled airline : An airline that operates its flights to a fixed schedule, i.e. flight timings are fixed
    • 5. Important terms
      • Charter airline : An airline whose flights do not have a fixed schedule
      • Cabin : A class of service usually identified by a unique set of services offered (e.g. Economy, Business, First, etc.)
      • Flight : A trip made by an aircraft between two geographical locations
    • 6. Important terms (continued…)
      • Itinerary : A route of journey proposed by a traveler
      • Ticket : (Usually) a printed piece of paper or card showing that its holder has the right to use services on one or more specific flights
      • Travel agency : A business that attends to the travel needs of an individual or a group of individuals
    • 7. History of Computerized Reservation Systems
    • 8. Background
      • Airlines need to maintain multiple types of information
        • Route information : Covers the destinations served by the airline
        • Aircraft information : Information on the aircrafts used by the airline
        • Schedule information : Covers information on days and times on which the flights operated by the airline are scheduled to run
        • Fare information : Prices for various flights
        • Reservation information : Passenger and cargo reservations, including information on passenger tickets
    • 9. Background (continued…)
      • Prior to 1950 all this information was published by airlines in large books, with separate books for each type of information
      • Travel agents had a really tough time looking through multiple books for booking tickets that covered multiple airlines
      • It was impossible to get a real-time view of the inventory (available seats on a flight) since airlines could synchronize data from multiple locations only once a day
    • 10. Background (continued…)
      • In order to make a booking, a customer would call up a travel agent, providing them details of their itinerary
      • Travel agent would first look up airlines, flights and schedules matching the customer’s itinerary
      • Customer would then call up individual airlines to check seat availability
      • Once seat availability was confirmed, travel agent would look up the price appropriate for the flights selected and inform the customer
      • Upon confirmation from the customer, travel agent would call the airlines back to reserve the seats
    • 11. Background (continued…)
      • In 1950 American Airlines decided to set up a computerized system that would allow real-time access to all its data across all its offices and travel agents
      • As a result, Semi-Automated Business Research Environment , or SABRE was born in 1964. It was the first computerized airline system (CRS) in the world
      • SABRE was developed as a joint effort between IBM and American Airlines
    • 12. Background (continued…)
      • When created, SABRE ran on two IBM 7090 mainframes. The system was upgraded to IBM S/360 in 1972
      • In the 1970s and 80s multiple CRSs came up in North America
      • The first non-North American CRS was developed jointly by Air France, Lufthansa, Iberia and SAS in 1987. It was named Amadeus
    • 13. Overview of Computerized Reservation Systems
    • 14. Functions provided by a CRS
      • A CRS typically provides the following functions
        • Flight schedule information : Days and times for flights operated by the airline
        • Availability information : Seat availability on a flight by service class, i.e. Economy, Business or First class
        • Fare quotes : A consolidated fare for an itinerary based on flight, day, time, service class and passenger types chosen
        • Reservation information : Seat bookings
        • Ticketing information : Generating and storing tickets
        • Refunds and cancellations : Cancellation of existing reservations and tickets
    • 15. An availability display screen
    • 16. A fare display screen
    • 17. Overview of Global Distribution Systems
    • 18. History behind Global Distribution Systems
      • Although the CRSs simplified the task of maintaining airline data, they brought in new problems
        • In order to handle increasing passenger traffic, large computer systems were required for CRSs. This created a cost burden for airlines, especially the smaller ones which did not have enough money to spend on expensive mainframe technology
        • CRSs were airline specific. This required travel agencies who wanted to sell tickets for multiple airlines to have individual connections to each airline separately
        • Availability and fare searches across airlines was not possible since each airline had its own CRS. Since most passengers were interested in purchasing the cheapest fare rather than a specific airline, travel agents had to spend inordinate amount of time to determine cheapest fares across airlines
    • 19. The birth of Global Distribution Systems
      • CRSs recognized the need to host data for more than one airline in order to bring efficiencies to a growing airline industry
      • Thus, CRSs transformed from being single airline reservation systems to multi airline distribution systems (GDSs)
      • These GDSs also decided to share data among each other to bring in additional efficiencies
    • 20. Life of a travel agent before GDSs
    • 21. Problems before advent of GDSs
      • Travel agents required individual connections to airlines
      • If two or more airlines used different mainframe systems, travel agents had to use and be trained on different mainframe clients
      • Inability to perform direct searches across airline systems
      • Combining airline inventories a tedious process because inventory searches and reservations had to be performed in individual airline CRSs separately
    • 22. Life of a travel agent after GDSs
    • 23. Advantages of a GDS
      • Simplified access to possibly all airlines, through a single interface
      • Ability to connect to multiple airlines either through legacy mainframe clients or modern PC based clients
      • Less maintenance and up-keep overhead
      • Ability to combine airline inventories
    • 24. How GDSs have evolved
      • Due to airline CRSs being based on mainframes, GDSs have been based on mainframes as well
      • Over the last few decades, GDSs have started providing direct connectivity from non-mainframe clients such as PCs
      • GDSs have also started leasing hosting space (hardware, software and connectivity) to airlines which do not want to create and host their own CRSs
      • The advent of Internet has seen GDSs offer innovative products suited for accessing airline information over the Internet
    • 25. How GDSs have evolved (continued…)
      • GDSs now provide access to non-air products as well:
        • Car rentals
        • Hotel booking
        • Packaged holidays
        • Cruises and ships
        • Railways
        • Local road transport: bus, tram, taxi
    • 26. Major GDSs in operation today
      • Amadeus
        • Founded in 1987 by Air France, Iberia, Lufthansa and SAS
        • Head-quartered in Madrid, Spain
        • Largest booking share in Europe
        • Third largest booking share across the globe
        • Used by , and
      • Galileo
        • Founded in 1993 by 11 major North American and European airlines
        • Head-quartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
        • Second largest booking share across the globe
        • Used by ,
    • 27. Major GDSs in operation today (continued…)
      • SABRE
        • Founded in 1964 by American Airlines and IBM
        • Head-quartered in Southlake, Texas, USA
        • Largest booking share across the world
        • Used by ,
      • Worldspan
        • Founded in 1990 by Delta Airlines, Northwest Airlines and Transworld Airlines
        • Merged with Galileo in 2006
        • Used by , ,
    • 28. Recap and summary
    • 29. Summary
      • Airlines need to store multiple types of information such as routes, schedule, fares and reservations
      • Travel agents need access to multiple pieces of information before making a reservation
      • Before 1950 airline information was stored, distributed and accessed through non-electronic media
    • 30. Summary (continued…)
      • First computerized airline reservation system (airline CRS), SABRE created in 1964 as a collaboration between IBM and American Airlines
      • CRSs evolved into GDSs over a period of time
      • 4 major GDSs operational today – SABRE, Worldspan, Galileo and Amadeus
    • 31. Questions?