Integrated Settlement (IS) - File Formats
In recent years, carriers have invested significant sums to support the IDEC file format in order to send and receive an electronically readable copy of prime coupon (passenger) and original (cargo) billings. In defining the requirements for Integrated Settlement (IS), the steering and working groups sought to preserve this investment for carriers that would like to continue to use it.
Today’s IDEC file was created to ease the data entry requirements of the billed carrier. The IDEC file is inadequate for the future, where the billing file will be used to create a legal, completely digital invoice. While the existing IDEC format was the starting point, a number of significant changes were made to create what is now called IS-IDEC.
Additionally, a new file upload format, IS-XML, has been added which carriers will be able to choose to use this for some billing types. While they have different underlying structures and available record types, both formats are principally the same and will include the same fields and same validation requirements. (Similarly, where IS-WEB can be used for manual entry, it will include the same fields and validation as IS-IDEC and IS-XML will.)
Changes and features:
- New record types and breakdown records.
- In order to support the billing types that don’t exist today on IDEC (like rejection memos), additional record types and fields will be added. Additionally, breakdown records will be added that provide detailed and potentially repeating data to a record. An example would be a tax breakdown record to a prime coupon billing which allows the billing carrier to detail any potential number of taxes.
- Source Codes will be mandatory.
- Source codes are necessary to differentiate the new record types and uses of those record types.
- Greater use of mandatory and conditional fields.
- With the reliance on the billing file to create the invoice and settlement data, it is now a necessity that the billing file "makes sense” and that there isn’t incorrect data like wrongly summed values. The published file structures in the IDEC will mandate the use of specific fields (much as today), but the Integrated Settlement process will validate the rules as well.
- Integrated Settlement will validate technical rules (that, e.g., the airline code exists) but will not validate business rules (that, e.g., the billing carrier is charging the correct taxes).
- Increased record lengths to provide room for more data (IS-IDEC).
- A record in IS-XML, by the nature of the XML format, can expand to whatever length is needed.
- IDEC, on the other hand, has a fixed length of 160 characters, which the IDEC WG determined is insufficient for the new data elements and record types of Integrated Settlement. As a result, all records in IS-IDEC will have a length of 400 bytes, which includes a margin of safety for the future. Padding characters will be added to the end of records to ensure that each is 400 bytes long.