International Air Transport Association
Partner Brief
Strategic Partnerships Newsletter
45th issue * Quarter 4, 2012

Cooperative Strategies: Sustaining Human and Intellectual Capital within the Aviation Industry

Ismail Albaidhani, Head of Global Partnership and Learning Innovation, IATA Training and Development Institute, discusses the cooperative strategies necessary to ensure the industry’s sustainability in today’s climate.

The Challenges Ahead

Our industry is about to face a tremendous challenge. Driven by the recovery of the global economy, the amount of passengers and cargo is growing and is expected to increase with each passing year. The industry has already started to prepare for this growth by upgrading and expanding fleet networks. In addition, countries around the globe are expanding their aviation infrastructures to support this growth, building new airports and terminals in a wide variety of locations.

However, to handle this unprecedented activity, it is vital that we address the issue of the human-capital supply. Shortages of pilots and technical experts are imminent as emerging markets increasingly require such skills.

Currently, the industry’s human capital can be divided into three main groups:

  • Experienced experts
  • An overworked workforce
  • Students choosing other sectors instead of our industry

Incredibly, this situation comes at a time when unemployment rates, especially amongst youth, are at record highs in various parts of the world.

Some Practical Steps

Sustaining human and intellectual capital within our industry can be accomplished by developing cooperative strategies for each group. These strategies must formalize the knowledge and intellectual capital of experienced individuals and transfer that expertise to others so as to enhance existing skills and knowledge. Moreover, it is incumbent upon the industry to identify and retain talent within companies to ensure business continuity and ongoing professional excellence. The industry can be sustained by the quality of knowledge existing within it.

To maintain sustainability, the knowledge of retiring personnel should be leveraged and recycled within the industry to safeguard efficiency and productivity. For example, senior pilot captains could pass on their knowledge to junior first officers. At the executive level, senior administrators could share their skills and expertise with talented new managers.

Cooperation, Collaboration, Partnering, Mentoring

These are not mere buzzwords. To innovate, companies must enlist the creativity of their best and brightest. New programs are likely to incorporate new ways of delivering training in partnership with academia, technology providers and perhaps even the electronic gaming industry. Integrating social media—along with educating, training, and interacting with prospective aviation professionals—will be key to the sustainability of the industry going forward.

Aviation is facing a daunting challenge. But we have proven time and again that we are equal to the task at hand.

To learn more about IATA’s training programs, visit the IATA Training and Development Institute.


Accelya: Delivering an Effective Payment Strategy

The airline industry can no longer treat the processing of electronic payments as a commodity that can be addressed through tactical decisions and local relationships. It is a strategic issue. First, multiple distribution channels must be secured. Second, the main players in the supply chain must be considered as strategic partners.

Many would agree that a centralized multicurrency-acquiring relationship makes sense because of improved control and economies of scale. However, acquirers’ lack of appetite for airline exposure, and the resulting limits on unsecured capacity offered by the single acquirer, may counter these benefits. The need, therefore, is to maintain the benefits of consolidating the process without restricting the ability to access multiple acquirers, in particular services offered by local providers. The challenge is to manage and allocate the volumes cost-effectively while retaining the necessary elements of control and reconciliation.

An effective payments strategy therefore should achieve the following:

  • Deliver an acceptance solution at the point of sale that is “acquirer agnostic”
  • Consolidate payment data centrally into a multicurrency billing platform designed to exploit multiple acquirer relationships
  • Deliver management information and market intelligence to the business
  • Provide end-to-end reconciliation across the sold-billed-settled-banked cycle

A key component is compliance, in particular PCI-DSS with respect to the storage of card data; this will dictate how and if the card processes are to be integrated into the selling and accounting systems.

Accelya’s objective is to provide a dynamic, managed clearing process with the necessary flexibility not just to clear and settle a transaction, but also to ensure that the airline gets the maximum value from that sale. Its card-management solution VIVALDI processes data in a PCI-DSS-compliant environment, helps airlines reap the benefit of consistent processes across their global card operations, and streamlines and centralizes card processing in desired currencies for airline sales through selected global acquirers. It offers daily billing and settlement of all major card brands, enabling airlines to repatriate funds more effectively while minimizing associated costs.

Guillermo Olague
Business Manager, Payment Services



Cyintech Information Solutions: The Redesign of United’s Network Operations Center

Cyintech is an IATA Strategic Partner offering assistance in business-process improvement, with a specialization in fuel efficiency and airline operations control.

In 2008, United requested Cyintech’s assistance in improving its operations control processes and designing an improved operations control center. Working with United’s frontline operations control personnel, Cyintech contributed a future-state process model (FSPM) to provide the basis for improved processes, organizational alignment, and the architectural requirements for a new operations center.

As the project neared completion, United merged with Continental Airlines. The project was therefore modified to incorporate the increased size of the operation, with Cyintech making recommendations regarding technical support. The company also supplied the detailed architectural design for the construction of the newly designated “Network Operations Center (NOC)” at the Willis Tower in downtown Chicago, the site selected by United.

The UA NOC contains 340 personnel aligned in customized consoles for optimal functional and communication flows. The center keys off a strategic group with a briefing area that incorporates large screen displays furnishing system performance and operational alerts. This area is surrounded by functional work groups, including the narrow-body equipment group, the wide-body equipment group, and scheduling and technical operations, among others. Situational awareness is facilitated by an audiovisual system replicated for the work groups throughout the center.

The ergonomically designed UA NOC, opened in May of 2012, has set a new standard for the operations control facilities of major international airlines, supporting efficiency and customer-service improvements well into the future.

Michael W. Senior



Honeywell, Inc.: Reducing the Worldwide Risk of Runway Incursions and Excursions

Runway incursions and excursions stand as one of the greatest ongoing safety concerns for the air transport industry. Related costs stem from casualties, injuries, hull losses, aircraft inspections, and repairs, as well as the knock-on costs associated with lost capacity, closed runways, or closed airports, exceeding US$1 billion annually. Add the immeasurable cost of a high-profile accident to an airline’s brand, and the effects of even a single incursion or excursion can be truly staggering.

The good news is that the cause of runway incursions and excursions is relatively straightforward: heavier traffic, more congestion at airports—often mixed with poor visibility—and, ultimately, the propensity for human error, be it in the cockpit, on the ground, or in the control tower.

To address this issue, Honeywell developed a new line of SmartRunway™ and SmartLanding™ software products to increase safety drastically during approach, landing, taxi, and takeoff by breaking the chain of events leading to runway excursions or incursions.

In 2010, Emirates and Honeywell joined forces, working hand in hand to bring this technology to market just as it was nearing readiness for regulatory certification. The software was tested on Emirates’ own fleet of diverse Airbus and Boeing aircraft by a dedicated certification and implementation team involving the flight operations, quality assurance, airline engineering, aircraft maintenance, design engineering, and supply-chain departments. Ultimately, the Emirates-Honeywell team was successful in certifying the SmartRunway™ and SmartLanding™ systems for a wide variety of aircraft and configurations.

This project is a testament to how an airline and an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) can work together for the common good. Emirates’ vision, leadership, and unfailing support throughout the certification process were key ingredients in the project’s success.

Brian Davis
Vice-president, Airlines, Asia Pacific, Air Transport and Regional



OAG Analyser

A source of airline schedule data as well as a provider of insight tools, OAG places a huge importance on offering the highest possible data quality. In July, for instance, the OAG schedule database had 950 airlines: 142 airlines supplied direct SSM messages to the database, and 19,392,937 flight-status updates were processed.

OAG has spent the past 18 months discovering how aviation analysts have been using the current products and what features they’d love to see added. Through numerous in-depth discussions, all types of customers—airlines, consultants, financial analysts, manufacturers, tourism authorities, educators, and industry media—have contributed to this fact-finding mission. As a result, OAG has a better understanding than ever of the many uses our customers have for airline-schedule data. We also have a clearer idea of the myriad features that would help our clientele stay on top of industry trends, spot new commercial opportunities, and get to needed data faster.

It’s been an exciting journey for Rob Shaw, Director of Analytical Services. His task was to distill the customer wish lists into product features and then deliver a state-of-the-art product that matches our customers’ exacting requirements. The result is OAG Analyser.

As of July 2012, OAG Analyser replaces a suite of products with a single point-of-entry platform giving access to a wide range of schedule-analysis tools. For the first time, the OAG schedule database is available to anyone in the aviation industry, wherever they are, using online access and a single login.

Rob Shaw
Director, Analytical Services

OAG Analyser


StB Think Tank White Paper: A Vision for Travel in 2020

The Simplifying the Business (StB) Think Tank White Paper was presented at the World Passenger Symposium in Abu Dhabi in October 2012. This document outlines the five goals that will lead toward a simple traveling experience from shopping to airport security and the supporting programs of work.

1. Airline products. The goal is for customers to benefit from personalized and dynamically packaged travel offers, and for airlines to be able to offer these regardless of distribution channel. This will be achieved through a New Distribution Capability (NDC) platform, based on open XML standards that will facilitate innovation. Competition and the needs of travelers will determine how airlines, travel agents, system providers, and new entrants use the new capability.

2. Passenger data. The goal is to enable passengers to clear border control and security verification in advance of their arrival at the airport by integrating passenger data between airlines and government.

3. Real-time interaction. The goal is to improve the passenger travel experience with real-time interaction during the travel process between the airline and the passenger. Ensuring the availability of accurate mobile contact information and access to Wi-Fi is key and will be the focus of two programs of work in this area.

4. Hassle-free. The goal is to create a fast and comfortable airport experience for the passenger from curb to airside. Among the initiatives associated with this goal are Fast Travel—which provides self-service solutions—Checkpoint of the Future (for more efficient and effective security), and the development of a single token to facilitate all aspects of the travel process.

5. Seamless journey. The goal is to smooth out the passenger journey beyond the airport by facilitating an information exchange with partners throughout the journey (ground transport, hotels, tour companies, cruise ship operators, etc.).

For more information on the event, visit World Passenger Symposium 2012.

To learn more about the program, visit Simplifying the Business.


IATA Conferences and Events

IATA conferences, exhibitions, and industry meetings provide outstanding networking opportunities in addition to an association with the IATA brand, a world-class global endorsement. These events cover areas as diverse as pricing, ground handling, legal issues, fuel, and security, among others, which benefit airlines, airports, travel and cargo professionals, as well as service providers and governments.

Featured Event

2–4 June 2013 — Cape Town, South Africa

South African Airways will host the top leadership of the air transport industry at the 69th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit.

According to Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO, air connectivity is key to South Africa’s economic success, contributing 2.1% to the country’s GDP. In addition to supporting South Africa’s strong tourism sector, air connectivity plays a critical role in maximizing growth opportunities arising from South Africa’s BRICS membership and the burgeoning African economy.

This year’s AGM and World Air Transport Summit in Beijing attracted some 750 airline-industry leaders from IATA’s 242 member airlines. It drew a further 350 journalists representing major media outlets from around the world.

Visit IATA Events regularly for an updated list of all upcoming events.

Michael Huntington
Manager, IATA Conferences and Events
Tel: +1 450 715 1313


New Strategic Partners

Since 1990, IATA Strategic Partners have been contributing to IATA and the air transport industry through their involvement in the Strategic Partnerships program.

We are happy to introduce the following new Strategic Partners.

Access the company websites directly by clicking on their logos.

Abilio   Acorn Petroleum PLC   Aviation Fuel Solutions International (AFSI Inc.)
Abilio   Acorn Petroleum PLC   Aviation Fuel Solutions International (AFSI Inc.)
Atcomex Company N.V.   Atlantic FuelEx   Aviation Services Management Ltd.
Atcomex Company N.V.   Atlantic FuelEx   Aviation Services Management Ltd.
Brussels Airport Company   GlobaleDocs Ltd.   Ground Handling Logistic – Safewrap
Brussels Airport Company   GlobaleDocs Ltd.   Ground Handling Logistic – Safewrap
Hans Infomatic Pvt. Ltd.   ICM Airport Technics Australia Pty Ltd.   Inspectorate
Hans Infomatic Pvt. Ltd.   ICM Airport Technics Australia Pty Ltd.   Inspectorate
JBP Marketing International S.A.   Socar Energy Switzerland GmbH   Type22 B.V.
JBP Marketing International S.A.   Socar Energy Switzerland GmbH   Type22 B.V.
WNS North America, Inc.    
WNS North America, Inc.  

For a complete list of Strategic Partners, and to learn more about what they offer, please visit our online directory.

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