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First travel agencies to come online in Finland in Q1 2011

Amadeus is first to deliver EMD standards for travel agencies

Amadeus announces it is first to market with the availability of IATA ’s Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) 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 end 2013.

The EMD is the industry electronic messaging standard which enables airlines and travel agencies to more effectively share information relating to issuance, management, distribution and fulfilment of airline services. Amadeus is the first in the industry to be compliant with the full solution; it has not only replaced the current tool with the new electronic version to issue documents for standalone travel related services such as lounge access, vouchers, etc., but in advance of its competitors, it has also enabled the collection of payment for a variety of services directly associated to a flight, such as excess baggage and specific meals.

Amadeus has already announced the availability of its comprehensive EMD solution for airlines with Finnair, implemented 1st of June 2010, 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 over 60% of its revenue and provides the highest yield.

The adoption of the EMD standard for travel agencies reduces costs, enables automated reporting and accounting of ancillary service sales whilst delivering a single, consolidated and easy to understand electronic document to the traveller, which details the full range of services they have purchased. 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% in 2009 to 11 billion euros.

Rudy Daniello, Director, Distribution Product Management, Amadeus commented: “Amadeus is pleased to be the first to offer the industry a full solution for travel agencies that is critical for industry profitability. Travel agencies will now have a single standardised 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.”

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.”

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. 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.